PTC: HBO Should Stream 'Sesame Street' Free to Homebound Kids

The Parents Television Council is calling on HBO to stream its first-run Sesame Street episodes for free and broadcasters to set aside, and promote, a daily block of educational and informational programming to help with remote education efforts in the age of coronavirus

Sesame Street used to air first on free TV, but now airs on HBO before their noncom broadcast window.  

"With so many schools closing due to the quarantine, families would benefit greatly from programs designed to teach and educate children of all ages," said PTC President Tim Winter of the request for a broadcast E/I block. 

“Streaming platforms also need to help families by socially-distancing child-themed content from other content intended for adults," Winter said. "Too many streaming platforms enable children to have easy access to age-inappropriate content, sometimes placing kids’ content right next to extremely explicit content. With their deep, in-house technology expertise, better interface designs can and should be implemented immediately." 

Broadcasters are required to air educational and informational programming, but not in a daily block. The FCC also recently loosened kidvid obligations on broadcasters. Online services have no educational content requirements since they are beyond the reach of FCC content-related rules. 

Meanwhile, noncommercial television stations are returning to their educational TV roots with distance learning efforts in at least 25 states. 

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.