HBO announced this morning that it had inked a five-year deal with Sesame Workshop for future episodes of Sesame Street. This is not the death knell of the show on PBS - it will continue to air there, but new episodes will arrive only after an exclusive viewing window on HBO. Sesame Workshop will also develop a Sesame Street Muppets property and future kids educational properties specifically for HBO.
This is just another step in HBO's march to being the source for premium content for the entire family - and one more brick in its wall of digital dominance. Why do I think that?
Because viewing on traditional kids cable networks is being decimated. Because Netflix, Amazon and Hulu are becoming the platforms of choice for little monsters, who prefer their mobile devices. And because HBO Now is currently, almost exclusively, adults only.
Landing an iconic brand - possibly THE iconic brand - for kids programming sets a foundation stone for a forthcoming kids digital network, or at the very least, for a strong extension of HBO Now. It just reinforces the idea that HBO is in the business of delivering content however a consumer wants it ... many steps ahead of its cable competitors, and now on track to possibly surpass its OTT competitors, who don't have the benefit of television delivery.
Bert and Ernie? You just landed in a very nice, new building. Don't forget to tip the doorman.
Only a third of brand execs believe their companies have the right digital strategy.