Sesame Street licensing

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The American children's television series Sesame Street is known for its extensive merchandising. Licensees include a variety of companies which manufacture books, magazines, video/audio media, and toys using the characters and themes of Sesame Street.

Current licensees[edit]

Current licensees include Fisher-Price, Nakajima USA, Build-A-Bear Workshop (Build-An-Elmo, Build-A-Cookie Monster, And Build-A-Big Bird), Hasbro (Sesame Street Monopoly), Wooly Willy, Betty Crocker (Elmo Fruit Snacks), C&D Visionary (air fresheners) and Children's Apparel Network. Former licences include Applause, Child Dimension, Gibson Greetings, Gorham Fine China, Ideal Toys, Milton Bradley Company, Nintendo, Palisades Toys, Questor, Radio Shack, Tyco, and the Western Publishing Company. Creative Wonders (a partnership between ABC and Electronic Arts) produced Sesame Street software for the Macintosh, since at least 1995 and on the PC since 1996; Atari produced Sesame Street games in 1983. Before going bankrupt, Palisades Toys was to release a line of deluxe series action figures, for adults, as part of Sesame Workshop's push to expand into retro products for teens and adults.

The Sesame Beginnings line, launched in mid-2005, consists of apparel, health and body, home, and seasonal products.[1] The products in this line are designed to accentuate the natural interactivity between infants and their parents. Most of the line is exclusive to a family of Canadian retailers that includes Loblaws, Fortinos, and Zehrs.


As Sesame Workshop, the licensor of these characters, is a non-profit organization, a percentage of the money from any Sesame Workshop product goes to help fund Sesame Street or its international co-productions.[2]


Tickle Me Elmo[edit]

Tickle Me Elmo was one of the fastest selling toys of the 1996 season. That product line was and still is one of the most successful products Mattel has ever launched. Both it and its most notable successor, TMX, have caused in-store fights. Elmo starred in a Christmas special that year, in which he wished every day of the year was Christmas.[3]


After Fisher-Price recalled a large number of Sesame Street brand toys (among multiple licenses) in 2007, Sesame Workshop announced that they would independently inspect the products of all manufacturers. It went so far as to threaten withdrawing entirely from toy licensing, if it were not satisfied with the manufacturer's guarantees.[4]


Its fiction books are published on five continents, primarily by Random House in North America. Over 18 million Sesame Street books and magazines were purchased in 2005.[5] The books often mention that children do not have to watch the show to benefit from its publications.

Live performances[edit]

Ice shows[edit]

In 1975, ice-skating show Sesame Street on Ice presented costumed actors and dancers as touring casts, each performing a unique-multimillion-dollar budget ice show. And Sesame Street on Ice ran from 1975–1980.

Stage shows[edit]

Live touring show Sesame Street Live presents costumed actors and dancers as characters from the series, in original plots. In recent years, VEE has had four touring casts, each performing a unique multimillion-dollar budget show. Each season, the tours reach 160 different cities across North America, reaching 2 million people annually. Since the first production of Sesame Street Live on September 17, 1980, 48 million children and their parents have seen the show performed, across the world.[6]

Theme park[edit]

Busch Entertainment Corporation (BEC) is the licence holder for Sesame Street in its U.S. amusement parks including a completely Sesame Street themed park, Sesame Place, in Langhorne, Pennsylvania, United States. BEC also has a stage show at SeaWorld Orlando Elmo and the Bookaneers. In 2009 Busch Entertainment's Busch Gardens Williamsburg in Williamsburg, Virginia opened "Sesame Street Forest of Fun" with plans to open "Sesame Street Safari of Fun" at its Busch Gardens Tampa Bay park in Tampa Florida in the 2010 operating season.

Another theme park, Parque Plaza Sésamo, exists in Monterrey, Mexico, and Universal Studios Japan includes a three-dimensional movie based on the show.

Non-educational products[edit]

Although Sesame Street characters occasionally endorse non-educational products, they rarely appear in their puppet form, to limit the suggestion to children that the characters are formally endorsing the product. The Muppets do appear in puppet form to endorse select causes. Big Bird has promoted safe seating practices and the wearing of seatbelts, for the Ford Motor Company,[7] while Grover promoted a new course on children's informal learning, created by Harvard University with Sesame Workshop.[8] Elmo has appeared before the US Education Appropriations Subcommittee to urge more spending on music in schools.[9]

International merchandising[edit]

Barrio Sésamo, Plaza Sésamo, Sesamstraße, Sesame English and Sesamstraat have all had merchandise of their local characters. Shalom Sesame videos and books have also been released.

In 2004, Copyright Promotions Licensing Group (CPLG) became Sesame Workshop's licensing representative for The Benelux,[10] adding to their United Kingdom representation.[11]


  1. ^ "Loblaws and Sesame Workshop Introduce Exclusive Line of Sesame Beginnings and Sesame Street Products to Canada". Sesame Workshop Press Release. April 20, 2005. Retrieved 2009-10-22.
  2. ^ 40 Things You Didn't Know About Sesame Street (Season 40 Presskit), Sesame Workshop Press Release, 2009, retrieved 2009-10-22
  3. ^ Gliatto, Tom (December 23, 1996). "Elmo Saves Christmas". People., accessed in EBSCOhost.
  4. ^ "Elmos to get 'Sesame St.' testing". Daily News. New York. September 21, 2007.
  5. ^ Sesame Workshop: Sesame Street Season 37 Press Kit Archived 2008-05-27 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Sesame Street Live Press Kit, Minneapolis MN: Vee Corporation, 2004.
  7. ^ Bryant, Thomas L. (July 1997). "Big Bird and Ford". Road & Track. Retrieved 2006-03-02., accessed through EBSCOhost.
  8. ^ Viadero, Debra (March 2, 2005). "Grover Promotes Harvard Course". Education Week. pp. 1/5. Retrieved 2006-03-02. The course itself was developed by professor Joseph Blatt, who told Education Week "it focuses on how to harness the positive power of the media to improve children's health, particularly problems that stem from alarming levels of obesity among youngsters nationwide." Guests to the course include Sesame Workshop staff. Students are required to pitch media projects to promote healthy behaviors among 6- to 9-year-olds to Sesame executives at the end of the course.
  9. ^ Bruce Morton, "Mr. Elmo goes to Washington". Atlanta, GA: CNN, April 24, 2002. The characters of Sesame Street have a major presence in Washington. President Bill Clinton's 1997 inaugural guests included Elmo. (Roberts, Roxanne (January 13, 1997). "For inauguration celebration, a group of diverse diversions". Washington Post., through EBSCOhost.)
  10. ^ SESAME WORKSHOP NAMES NEW LICENSING REP FOR THE BENELUX Archived 2007-09-30 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Previously The Licensing Company Ltd. held the British rights to Sesame Street. Its licensees included Reed Books Children's Publishing for books. ("Reed to publish Sesame Street Books in the UK". Publishers Weekly. April 28, 1997.)