Amazon Prime bolsters its children’s programming with PBS Kids deal

Amazon on Friday announced it has secured exclusive video streaming rights for certain PBS Kids programs, including "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood" pictured here.
(Daniel Tigers Neighborhood The Fred Rogers Co.)

Underscoring the increasing value of children’s programming to video streaming services, Amazon Prime announced Friday that it had struck a multi-year deal to offer PBS Kids programming to its subscribers.

Netflix, HBO and Amazon have scrambled in recent months to fortify their offerings as children’s viewership has become a key part of their businesses. The reason: Many parents feel more comfortable handing their smartphone or a tablet to their children to watch TV shows without commercial messages.

Under the deal, the programs -- which contain educational messages targeted to preschoolers – will premiere on PBS stations nationwide before being made available to Amazon Prime video subscribers. The nearly six-month delay allows PBS stations, which also offer their programming commercial-free, to feature the freshest children’s episodes.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it is expected to provide a healthy revenue stream to the nonprofit broadcasting service.


Previously, the shows appeared on Hulu and Netflix, but now Amazon will have access to a large swath of PBS children’s titles. The agreement comes after HBO last summer struck an exclusive five-year deal to offer “Sesame Street” – Ernie, Bert, Big Bird and Grover – as part of its HBO Now streaming service.

The nonprofit Sesame Workshop, the group behind the children’s television program, viewed that deal with the Time Warner Inc. premium channel as a way to shore up its finances and produce nearly double the number of episodes. In that arrangement, PBS stations receive the “Sesame Street” episodes after HBO – in contrast to the deal announced by PBS and Amazon on Friday.

Among the PBS Kids titles included in the Amazon agreement are “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” “Martha Speaks,” “Dinosaur Train,” “Wild Kratts” and “Peg + Cat.”

“We are very pleased to be continuing our relationship with Amazon, increasing Prime Video members’ access to our trusted, educational programming,” Lesli Rotenberg, general manager of children’s media and education for PBS, said in a statement.

Amazon said the PBS Kids titles included in the deal would be available for Prime members to watch via the Amazon Video app on TVs, mobile devices or on computers. Subscribers also would have the ability to download PBS Kids series on iPads, iPhones, Android phones and tablets and Fire tablets for offline viewing.


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