Sesame Street to Air on HBO
Sesame Workshop and HBO today announced a new partnership that will make the next five seasons of Sesame Street available on HBO and its multiplex channels, HBO GO, HBO On Demand, and the new internet-only SVOD service HBO NOW. As a key part of the deal, Sesame will be able to produce almost twice as much new content as previous seasons, and for the first time ever, make the show available free of charge to PBS and its member stations after a nine-month window.
“Our new partnership with HBO represents a true winning public-private partnership model,” said Jeffrey Dunn, Sesame Workshop’s CEO, in a statement. “It provides Sesame Workshop with the critical funding it needs to be able to continue production of Sesame Street and secure its nonprofit mission of helping kids grow smarter, stronger and kinder; it gives HBO exclusive pay cable and SVOD access to the nation’s most important and historic educational programming; and it allows Sesame Street to continue to air on PBS and reach all children, as it has for the past 45 years.”
In addition to the next five seasons of Sesame Street, Sesame Workshop will produce a Sesame Street Muppet spinoff series, as well as develop a new original educational series for children. HBO has also licensed over 150 library episodes of Sesame Street. The new episodes will begin airing as early as late fall 2015, and HBO will be the exclusive, first-run subscription television distribution partner for Sesame Street and the new series. HBO will have the right to air all series in both English and Spanish. All new series will also be made available to PBS and its member stations after the first window. Episodes of Sesame Street will continue to be made available, uninterrupted, as part of the PBS Kids service on PBS member stations.
“Over the past decade, both the way in which children are consuming video and the economics of the children’s television production business have changed dramatically,” said Joan Ganz Cooney co-founder of Sesame Street. “In order to fund our nonprofit mission with a sustainable business model, Sesame Workshop must recognize these changes and adapt to the times.”
In addition to Sesame Street, HBO will also license approximately 50 past episodes of the two children’s series Pinky Dinky Doo, an animated series for preschoolers focusing on early literacy, and The Electric Company, which was rebooted in 2009, from Sesame Workshop.
Celebrate Shopkins this Saturday Nationwide at TRU
Moose Toys announces the first-ever nationwide Shopkins Swap-kins experience for fans across the country to gather at their local Toys “R” Us store this Saturday, August 15 from 12–2pm.
Meet fellow fans, trade characters with other attendees, participate in a coloring activity, and receive an exclusive collector’s poster and trading cards (while supplies last). Shopkins fans everywhere are invited to join the conversation and share their swaps on social media using #ShopkinsSwap.
In addition, the toy-focused YouTube channel, DisneyCarToys, which Moose says reaches over two million subscribers, will host the Shopkins Swap-kins party at the Toys “R” Us Times Square flagship store in New York City on Saturday from 12–2pm. For the first time, fans can meet Sandra and “Spidey” from DisneyCarToys at the event. Sandra and “Spidey” will sign autographs, take photos with fans, and hand out a Special Event New York Apple Blossom Shopkins character that was specially created for the Toys “R” Us Times Square event (while supplies last). There were only 800 New York Apple Blossom Shopkins created globally, so fans who receive the character will receive an extremely rare addition to their collection.
Nominations Now Being Accepted for 2016 TOTYs
The Toy Industry Association (TIA) is now accepting toy, game, and property submissions for the 2016 Toy of the Year (TOTY) Awards. The nomination period will close at 5 pm (Pacific) on Friday, October 2. Finalists will be unveiled on November 17; winners will be announced at the TOTY Awards ceremony in February 2016. Click here for more information.
Celebrate Slinky’s 70th Birthday
Slinky is celebrating its 70th birthday with Slinky Day on August 30. Alex Brands is encouraging consumers to share a video of themselves singing the Slinky Jingle on social media sites using #SlinkyDay70. In honor of this milestone, for every #SlinkyDay70 video posted on social media through the end of August, Alex Brands will donate one Slinky toy to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation (up to 1,000 Slinky toys).
As most in the industry know, Slinky was created in 1945 when naval mechanical engineer, Richard James, was developing springs for sensitive equipment used aboard ships and accidentally knocked one of the springs from a shelf. Over the next year, James experimented with different types of steel wire and finally found a spring that would walk. James’ wife, Betty, named the toy Slinky, after finding the word in a dictionary and deciding that the word perfectly described the sound of the metal toy. The first production run of 400 Slinkys sold out in 90 minutes priced at $1 each at Philadelphia’s Gimbels Department Store. In 2000, the Slinky was inducted into the Toy Hall of Fame. Slinky was added to the Toy Industry Association’s Century Toy List in 2003 as one of the most creative toys of the 20th century. Visit www.SlinkyDay70.com.