Sesame Workshop, the organization behind Sesame Street, is bringing the classic children’s show and other shows like Pinky Dinky Doo online through a new video on demand service, called Sesame GO, which will be available on Mac and PC, tablet, and mobile devices. The new SVOD service is powered by Kaltura Media GO OTT Solution.
The service is being offered free of ads and will feature the latest full-length TV episodes of Sesame Street, plus hundreds of episodes from prior seasons, episodes from Sesame Classics Volumes 1 and 2 and episodes from seasons 1 and 2 of Pinky Dinky Doo. Sesame GO subscription costs are expected to run at $3.99/month or $29.99/year and the service is currently only available in the US.
This is not the first time Sesame Workshop has dabbled in distributing its content online. Sesame Workshop programs are currently accessible through multiple outlets: its website, a YouTube channel with shows available on both a free and purchase basis, and a subscription YouTube channel with full length episodes (a subscription fee of $3.99/month). In partnering with Kaltura Media GO, Sesame Workshop is attempting to enter a growing over-the-top (OTT) marketplace where opportunities for niche SVOD services is expanding as consumers are taking in more media on tablets and smartphones. Kaltura, whose focus is on education, media, and enterprise stands to benefit from the relatively high profile of content from Sesame Workshop as well extending their core business.
In a similar instance, World Wrestling Entertainment launched a subscription SVOD service (WWE Network) to appeal to a growing customer base in February 2014. Sesame Workshop is looking to do a similar thing to the WWE by entering into a niche market with children and education. Other video on demand services, like Netflix, have seen success in children’s programming as children’s VOD services tend to perform well.
Some of the key issues Sesame Workshop now faces derive from the dual subscription services now available to consumers. Offering subscriptions (via YouTube and Sesame GO) with seemingly identical content will likely fragment Sesame Workshop’s subscription base. Currently, there is no indication that the Sesame GO service will feature any additional content apart from the YouTube subscription service, making it unnecessary for consumers to subscribe to both services. This overlap leads to other issues like persuading consumers to subscribe to both services and the tediousness of uploading similar content to multiple platforms. IHS speculates that the reason why Sesame Workshop is implementing an SVOD service is primarily due to the low risk and low set up costs. While also speculative, Sesame Workshop could be transitioning their content off of YouTube and onto the Kaltura run Sesame Go service.