Sesame’s migration to cable begs to be understood as a failure in public funding, and it is in part. In a kinder society, PBS would have more funding, and it could rush in to support a struggling flagship. But what changed Sesame Workshop’s financial situation wasn’t a PBS funding cut but the media environment itself. The same economics that have hurt musicians—the transition from physical ownership to digital ownership to streaming—are what threatened Sesame Workshop’s budget and sent it running to HBO. In a world with less media ownership, even widely beloved, publicly funded media need a premium patron.
Yet the problem remains. Sesame Street was made to give poorer children a leg up, but by virtue of being a popular TV show, it’s helped richer children too. So Thursday’s news, that affluent HBO viewers will get new Sesame episodes for a full nine months before non-premium-cable subscribers get them, doesn’t so much create an unfortunate tension as ratify one. Think of all those DVD and t-shirt sales, and how crucial they were to Sesame Workshop’s bottom-line: Sesame Street has long relied on appealing to richer homes in order to subsidize helping poorer ones.
Now, that relationship will dictate the creation of the show itself.
Maybe this could be construed as meet the new patronage system ... kinda remarkably similar to the old patronage system?
Oh, and, why not ... another link for the sake of it
Anyone else waiting for a cross-over episode in which The Count is explaining to Tyrion Lannister how fiat currency works?