My friend Scott Grunewald wrote about Sesame Street’s upcoming move to HBO and I thought it was thoughtful and interesting so I asked him if I could post it here. As the conversation is about Muppets and HBO, there will be some sassy language so don’t read it if that sort of thing gets you cranky.
I have mixed feelings on Sesame Street‘s impending move to HBO.
On the one hand, I think PBS is incredibly important to the public in numerous ways and funding free, educational and community driven television should be vitally important to our nation. Especially since it is comparatively inexpensive to everything else we seem to be funding these days. Additionally, PBS is often the ONLY way that low income families are able to watch television and it should be a priority to make sure that even the poorest among us have access to educational and free news media. Thankfully Sesame Workshop and HBO are at least making sure that it will still air on PBS, just a few months later.
And on the other hand, the fact is that streaming media is the future. I can understand why Sesame Street would make this move: it get’s them three times the episodes, three times the work for their crew and performers, and [eventually] two new shows to further expand their educational media available for free. And of course it gets a show with some serious progressive values into a lot of homes that probably wouldn’t typically look for it because ew, PBS.
I’m shocked the show went with HBO honestly; I would have assumed either Hulu or Netflix, but since HBO is clearly very serious about transitioning into a streaming service more than a pay channel it isn’t totally a bad match. I’d bet that HBO isn’t making a lot of money on this deal, but know that their subscriber numbers will increase significantly.
If such a large number of our elected government officials weren’t massive and useless dickbags with punchable faces we could have been really forward-thinking and progressive and given PBS the funds to create a free, public streaming service that would be a no cost alternative to paid services. I know a lot of struggling families, (and even schools) who have Wifi but no way to get TV signals now. They would benefit from that immensely.
But our government is a slave to corporate America, so why would they build a tool for Americans that doesn’t have a profit motive for rich people?
IMAGE CREDIT: AP Photo/Beth A. Keiser, file