Tess Vigeland: Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street? By way of India?
The Children’s Television Workshop has built Sesame into a global brand over nearly half a century. It broadcasts in more than 145 countries and licenses everything from books to Elmo toys. Now in India, it’s launched a franchise business of for-profit Sesame Street-branded schools. It plans to open 20 preschools by next spring and 380 within five years.
Marketplace’s Mark Garrison has this report, brought to you by the letters N and Y, for New York.
Mark Garrison: Elmo’s crooning is well-known to American children. But if you grow up in say, Mumbai, you’re used to a different tune.
The theme to “Galli Galli Sim Sim,” the Hindi version of “Sesame Street.” Beyond the show, Sesame has long worked with Indian educators to develop lesson plans and materials. So Sesame Workshop India managing director Sashwati Banerjee says her team is well-equipped to succeed in selling a full preschool curriculum.
Sashwati Banerjee: We thought it was the most logical extension.
For the right to use the brand and materials, franchisees will pay Sesame a fee and a cut of tuition revenue. That tuition starts at the equivalent of about $450 a year, no small sum in India. Private school franchises are big business there. There are hundreds. Well-off parents turn to them to escape poor public schools.
Mike Jani is the Indian-born, California-based V.P. of the consultancy Franchise India. He says the Sesame Street branding will stand out in a very competitive market.
Mike Jani: I think it could be of great potential because it’s a name that is recognized.
Banerjee knows she’s on new turf for a storied brand, so she’s choosing partners carefully. She says franchisees must buy into…
Banerjee: The ethos and the values of Sesame as much as they are buying into the business.
And that Sesame ethos just might translate into a lucrative new emerging market business.
I’m Mark Garrison for Marketplace.
We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.
Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.
In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.
Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.