'Sesame Street' launches own video-on-demand service

New subscription service offers access to hundreds of full-length, ad-free episodes of the classic preschooler program.

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Sesame Go will offer ad-free access to hundreds to episodes of "Sesame Street" Sesame Workshop

Parents looking to show their preschooler how to get to "Sesame Street" any time they want now have a new avenue to Bert, Ernie, and Elmo.

Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind the classic children's program, on Tuesday launched a new video subscription service called Sesame Go that offers on-demand access to hundreds of full-length episodes of "Sesame Street". The service, powered by the open-source video technology firm Kaltura, will cost $3.99 a month or $29.99 a year for ad-free access from the Web or mobile devices.

Sesame Go will likely provide Sesame workshop with a valuable new revenue stream, but this is not the first time distribution has been the word on the street. Episodes of the 43-year-old PBS children's program have long been available on Amazon, Hulu, and Netflix. Sesame Street's YouTube channel has been a popular draw since it launched in 2006, topping 1 billion video views last year, the first time a nonprofit has surpassed that milestone, according to YouTube.

While Sesame Street characterizes the new service as an "experiment", it does not see Sesame Go as a replacement for its PBS sponsorship.

"I think what we're trying to do is be smart and test all the major digital platforms," Scott Chambers, senior vice president of Worldwide Media Distribution for Sesame Workshop, told the Wall Street Journal. "I expect we'll maintain all the current relationships we have. But if this experiment is successful, we may alter our strategies."

The service is currently available only in the US.

 

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