Why did Sesame Workshop sell their stake in Noggin?

HunterMon17

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Noggin was a digital cable and satellite TV channel that launched on February 2, 1999. It focused on edutainment for kids in preschool and elementary school, aired no commercial advertising of any kind, and broadcasted 24 hours a day. Noggin was co-owned and operated by Nickelodeon (50%), the Children's Television Workshop (37.5%), and The Jim Henson Company (12.5%). The shows on the channel primarily consisted of syndicated reruns from Nick and CTW's old PBS shows, along with some original programming.

Noggin was perceived as a threat to PBS, who had been working with CTW since 1969. Noggin had exclusive cable rights to all of CTW's backlog of shows, even Sesame Street. Also, PBS's own attempt to launch the PBS Kids channel on September 6, 1999 floundered, as it only managed to reach about 10% of what Noggin's audience was by 2002. It eventually shut down on September 26, 2005, although PBS continues to air kids shows on their main channel to this day.

In 2001, Jim Henson sold its stake in Noggin to Sesame Workshop (the current name for CTW as of 2000), giving them 50% ownership of Noggin.

On April 1, 2002, Noggin shifted its focus to being exclusively aimed at preschoolers, and started broadcasting 12 hours a day from 6:00am to 6:00pm. Outside of those hours, a new block called The N, which was aimed at teens and focused more on entertainment, would air. Commerical advertising was soon added on The N, but continued to be abstained for Noggin.

Shortly after this, on August 7, 2002, Sesame Workshop sold its 50% stake in Noggin to Nickelodeon, leaving them with complete ownership. Sesame Workshop's old PBS shows continued to air syndicated reruns on Noggin until September 11, 2005, and they also continued to produce original programming for Noggin after this until at least 2009.

What do you think it was that caused Sesame Workshop to want out from owning Noggin? Why would they not want to keep their own TV channel?
 

TheMisterManGuy

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Oct 23, 2014
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I think the problem lied in its very concept. A PBS-style educational channel, aimed at Nickelodeon's demographic sounds like a neat concept. But in practice its a hard sell. Grade schoolers are notoriously hard to market edutainment to, as they're already in school and the last thing they want to do after a long day is to come home and learn about math on TV.

You can certainly make it work, but you'd need to disguise the material under a thick layer of framing to get kids to like it. That's why the channel switched formats in 2002, with Noggin being retooled for preschoolers, and The N being created for Teens/Preteens. Leaving the Grade-school set behind.
 

HunterMon17

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Nov 24, 2015
Messages
224
I think the problem lied in its very concept. A PBS-style educational channel, aimed at Nickelodeon's demographic sounds like a neat concept. But in practice its a hard sell. Grade schoolers are notoriously hard to market edutainment to, as they're already in school and the last thing they want to do after a long day is to come home and learn about math on TV.

You can certainly make it work, but you'd need to disguise the material under a thick layer of framing to get kids to like it. That's why the channel switched formats in 2002, with Noggin being retooled for preschoolers, and The N being created for Teens/Preteens. Leaving the Grade-school set behind.
Yes, but why didn't Sesame Workshop want to keep on going with the new format change, instead of selling out?
 

TheMisterManGuy

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Oct 23, 2014
Messages
1,250
Yes, but why didn't Sesame Workshop want to keep on going with the new format change, instead of selling out?
I think they saw the writing on the wall by 2002. Plus, the company was running into financial problems at the time, so they decided to cut their losses, and let it be Viacom's problem.
 

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