Sesame Workshop has named Whit Higgins its new vice president, international media distribution and business development.
In his new role, Higgins will be responsible for international content distribution for all Sesame Workshop properties, including Sesame Street, which celebrates 50 years in 2019. He will also build partnerships across consumer products, sponsorship, live events, entertainment, and education.
“Whit has extensive experience developing and launching new IP-related businesses and product offerings internationally,” said Ed Wells, senior vice president and head of international media and education, Sesame Workshop.
“We are producing a larger slate of content than ever before, featuring Sesame Street Muppets as well as all new properties and characters. Whit’s expertise will enable us to optimise distribution of this content across all platforms, being everywhere kids are.
“We’re thrilled to have him join the team and to help Sesame Workshop achieve our mission of helping kids everywhere grow smarter, stronger, and kinder.”
Most recently, Higgins served as senior vice president, strategic planning and business development for National Geographic Partners, where he was responsible for the expansion of new business opportunities across all platforms, including the launch of the National Geographic Kids linear channel and digital app in Latin America and the Middle East.
The move coincides with a new and reimagined series launch of Elmo’s World from Sesame Workshop, that has this week, detailed an upcoming slot on the UK kids’ channel Tiny Pop in January next year. At the same time, Sesame continues to push celebrations of Sesame Street’s 50th anniversary.
Here in the UK, the brand’s licensing agency, Bulldog has reported an ‘accelerated growth’ for the IP across both adults and kids’ categories.
The adult lines have successfully expanded to include accessories, gift, and homewares, while the range of items for kids continues to grow, with a focus on home, apparel, accessories and toy lines, while master toy partner Sambro has announced that it will be launching two new Elmo feature plush lines this year. Both will be TV advertised.
Rob Corney, group managing director, Bulldog Licensing, said: “Few popular children’s brands could hope to enjoy the enormous affection that Sesame Street inspires. This is an inspirational brand that, in its fiftieth year, is still inspiring new products and new shows, offering education with a large helping of fun.”
With beloved characters that are very much a part of pop culture, the brand’s teen and adult fans also find humour in Sesame Street’s movie parodies and memes – with nearly 1 million UK fans across Sesame Street’s social media channels.
With the launch of Elmo’s World on Tiny Pop, the hit character Elmo will now be joining channel favourites such as fellow Sesame Street resident Cookie Monster in Cookie Monster’s Foodie Truck.
“This means that two of Sesame Street’s most beloved characters will feature on one of the country’s biggest pre-school broadcast outlets,” said Corney.