Wednesday roundup: Sesame Go app launches; Pacifica heads to court

By Current Staff

Sesame Street characters including The Count can now be found on their own app. (Photo: Rahoul Ghose/PBS)

The Count is counting a new revenue source now that Sesame Street can be found on the Sesame Go app. (Photo: Rahoul Ghose/PBS)

• Sesame Workshop is introducing Sesame Go, a video subscription service of ad-free episodes of Sesame Street on demand. The cost is $3.99 a month or $29.99 a year. “That’s a potentially lucrative new revenue source for Sesame Workshop,” notes the Wall Street Journal, “already no slouch when it comes to lining up alternative distribution outlets beyond its traditional stage on public television.”

“I think what we’re trying to do is be smart and test all the major digital platforms,” said Scott Chambers, s.v.p, worldwide media distribution for Sesame Workshop. “I expect we’ll maintain all the current relationships we have. But if this experiment is successful, we may alter our strategies.”

• The warring factions on the Pacifica Foundation’s board head to court Wednesday for the first salvo in what could be a protracted battle. At issue is a civil lawsuit aiming to reinstate Summer Reese as executive director of the radio network. Nine members of Pacifica’s board, who support Reese, sued board chair Margy Wilkinson and other directors, disputing the March 14 firing of the ED. An Alameda County, Calif., judge will hear arguments about whether to impose an injunction that would restore Reese to her job and last until resolution of the case. If Reese prevails in the suit, she won’t have far to go — she has been ignoring the board’s firing and occupying her office. The decision on the injunction is expected by early afternoon. The lawsuit does not seek monetary damages.

• Canadian Broadcasting Corp. staff are bracing for what are expected to be significant reductions in force Thursday as the network faces losing $100 million in advertising revenue. This year the CBC lost the rights to broadcast National Hockey League games, leading to the shortfall. The Globe and Mail reports that cuts are most likely to be made in the sports, sales and factual programming departments.  “We’re not talking about cutting to the bone. We’re into the marrow now,” said Marc-Philippe Laurin, CBC branch president at the Canadian Media Guild.

• Cellist Yo-Yo Ma is the first recipient of the Fred Rogers Legacy Award, named for the host and creator of PBS’s beloved Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. Ma appeared as a guest on Rogers’s show twice. Rogers’s widow Joanne, herself a concert pianist, selected Ma for the award commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media in Pennsylvania, reports AP.

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