Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit organization behind Sesame Street, announced a programming deal that will send Sesame Street from its longtime publicly-subsidized home on PBS to the corporate Time Warner-owned home of Westeros on HBO. The move may have surprised viewers, but for those who know the volatile content market, shifting to the premium network is a shrewd strategy driven by the realities of the television market.
Signaling the importance of kiddie audiences in direct-to-consumer subscription programing models, HBO has formed a unique partnership with PBS, taking first-run rights to the iconic series Sesame Street and fully backing the show's production.
HBO CEO Richard Plepler dismissed concerns that the company's new direct-to-consumer streaming service, HBO Now, is cannibalizing its core pay-TV product.
Time Warner-owned premium network HBO saw its second-quarter revenues grow to almost $1.44 billion, up 1 percent, or $21 million, from $1.42 billion a year previously, thanks to increased subscriptions. But the cost of launching its new standalone OTT service, HBO Now, exceeded that revenue gain.
After declaring a stand-alone, OTT version of his premium cable service as a "tide that has to turn" last October, Starz CEO Chris Albrecht told investors today he hasn't decided when the company will actually launch a direct-to-consumer product.
Verizon Wireless said that its subscribers will be able to access HBO Now, the offering from the premium TV network that lets customers access its content without a TV subscription. Verizon also said that HBO content, though not necessarily HBO Now, will be part of its over-the-the-top mobile video service, which is continuing to get fleshed out.
HBO's standalone over-the-top SVOD service, HBO Now, continues to expand beyond its initial Apple TV boundaries. The provider announced that Verizon broadband customers, including both FiOS and high-speed Internet customers, now can sign up for the service. HBO Now is also giving new customers from Verizon a free 30-day trial.
Verizon has joined Cablevision as the second pay-TV operator to offer HBO Now without requiring a pay-TV service.
Despite a flurry of new streaming video choices, the number of U.S. and Canadian consumers who identify themselves as regular users of over-the-top content actually declined 2 percent over the last year, according to Arris' latest Consumer Entertainment Index report.
HBO Now has finally expanded beyond the Apple device universe, with the platform launching apps for Android mobile devices and Amazon Fire tablets.