NEW YORK - Nearing 1 billion views on YouTube, "Sesame Street" is headed for Justin Bieber territory.
The children's program is closing in on the kind of rarified digital milestone usually reserved for the likes of pop stars and cat videos. "Sesame Street" will soon pass 1 billion views on YouTube and it's celebrating the mark with a campaign to put itself over the hump.
"Sesame Street" on Thursday will post a video featuring the character Telly Monster, urging viewers to click the show past the final 20 million views and unlock a "top secret video." Naturally, for the nonprofit children's series, it's a teaching moment, too. Don't be surprised if Count von Count shows up to ponder such a big number.
For "Sesame Street," the milestone - a first on YouTube for a nonprofit or U.S. children's media outlet - reflects the increasingly multimedia nature of kid entertainment. Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch are now about as likely to be watched on an iPad, phone or laptop as they are on PBS.
"We have this theory that if we get content on multiple platforms and devices, it gives kids and families a chance to reinforce and experience the curriculum multiple times," says Terry Fitzpatrick, executive vice president of content and distribution for Sesame Workshop.