Has Big Bird sold out?

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While I admit I have not set the timer to make sure I catch the latest episode of Sesame Street, it was an important part of my childhood.   While I am happy that the show will not fade into obscurity, I am saddened to learn that through a deal with HBO, this beloved children’s television show, which champions fairness and equality, will be pay-walled.

Has big bird sold our?
Has big bird sold our?

New episodes will be available first to paying HBO subscribers, then for free via PBS nine months later.
The deal helped keep the financially unstable show afloat. Still, sadness was the reigning emotion among public broadcasting supporters when the deal was announced on Thursday.  What they saw was a cherished public asset — a part of so many people’s childhoods — becoming corporatized.

“I get why ‘Sesame Street’ did the HBO deal, but it makes me sad we’re privatizing a national treasure originally aimed at educating poor kids,”  said comedian Brian Gaar as he took to Twitter.

“More than any other series, ‘Street’ has symbolized public television and the Public Television Service over its 40 years on the air,” Newsday TV critic Verne Gay wrote.

Now, instead, it symbolizes the superiority of subscription-based business models.  More broadly, the announcement was a let-down for supporters of the public media model. Some say the gap between what not-for-profit media could be, and what it actually is, has never seemed so vast.   As parents everywhere can testify, many kids won’t notice that the episodes on PBS are old.

Nevertheless, the nine-month delay for free TV injects a “note of difference and separation into a show that was always dedicated to the eradication of such distinctions,” Rosenberg wrote. PBS CEO Paula Kerger was unavailable for an interview Thursday and did not respond to a request for comment.  PBS had known about the potential changes for many weeks. Jeffrey Dunn, the CEO of Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit that produces the show, said he talked with the public broadcaster last winter about the workshop’s worsening budget shortfalls.  “There was no way they could step up and make that gap up,” Dunn said.

A PBS spokeswoman said, “We spoke to Sesame Workshop about various possibilities, but, ultimately, ‘Sesame Street’ made their own decision.”

This makes me sad… How do you feel about it?

Original Source: CNN Money

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