To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: – Ecclesiastes 3:1
I believe there is a time and a place for everything. At one point, the newspapers were the public’s source of news. At another, retail giants such as JCPenny and Sears were where people would go to get the goods they needed. And at yet another, the government needed to be heavily involved with the funding of PBS and educating our children.
It’s now time for a change. Private companies can produce better content than our government.
A few years back, HBO inked a deal to fund Sesame Street in exchange for them being able to air the shows before PBS. At first, I have to admit that I was quite concerned with this arrangement. Could the same company that produces many shows that I would never let my young children watch actually produce a show that I would encourage my kids to watch?
I have to admit, the results have been impressive. Not only did the partnership produce something that I feel remained fairly true to the educational mission of Sesame Street but with the additional funding that HBO provided, it quickly became a more updated and entertaining show. They even recently incorporated a character with Autism, something I don’t feel PBS had the capabilities to address.
Today, I watched Julie’s Greenroom, a Netflix original show staring Julie Andrews. The purpose of this show, is to educate children about the arts. I was shocked to see not only Julie on the show but also Idina Menzel, Josh Groban and Alec Balwin teaching about singing, writing and acting. Who better to teach the arts that people that have become career experts in them? It also utilized Jim Henson’s puppets which gives it a feel much like Sesame Street. Overall, I am exceptionally impressed and my kids can’t stop watching it and learning. My 4 year old daughter can now clearly explain what a script is.
We need more shows like these and I believe that companies such as HBO and Netflix are in a better position to fund and create this content than PBS and it doesn’t require funding from our government.
This isn’t to say that I don’t understand the argument that PBS was always meant to be public and free to everyone. I just have to believe that parents would often be willing pay the subscription fees for these services if it does a good job of teaching their children. In the case they don’t want to pay for the content, I love the HBO/PBS agreement where PBS can broadcast the shows for free 6 months after HBO first shows it. It seems like a win for everyone. Let’s see more of this for the benefit of our children.