As it moves aggressively to launch into original content, Apple is making a significant investment in children’s programming in a new deal with Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit media organization that creates educational shows for young children.
Apple has given a multi-series order to the Sesame Workshop for a slate of children’s programs, according to a person close to the deal. No titles or dates have been announced, but “Sesame Street” won’t be part of the agreement.
The long-running children’s show has aired for decades on PBS stations, but its first-run episodes are now on HBO.
Under the Apple agreement, Sesame Workshop will develop both live-action and animated series, as well as a puppet series. The deal is the first kids programming confirmed for Apple’s Worldwide Video division, which oversees the company’s TV and streaming programming.
The kids demographic is a lucrative market for digital streaming services. Walt Disney Co. is expected to offer a wide range of kids shows and movies on its new streaming service, which is scheduled to launch next year. Netflix already invests heavily in kids programming, and Amazon recently partnered with the kids-oriented Genius Brands International as part of Amazon Channels.
The deal with New York-based Sesame Workshop represents Apple’s latest offensive into the world of streaming video content. The Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant recently signed a deal with Oprah Winfrey to develop original programming, and has already greenlighted a host of scripted series, including shows starring Jennifer Aniston and Hailee Steinfeld.
Apple has hired a slate of Hollywood executives to staff its programming division and is expected to spend $1 billion on content.
The tech company has also beefed up its physical presence in Southern California with a new lease on a building in Culver City where it will build out its original content business.