Feb 16, 2022 - Technology

Exclusive: Sesame Workshop hires new data executive

Photo Illustration of Alison Bryant and Grover.

Photo Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios. Photos: Courtesy of Sesame Street, Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

The organization behind "Sesame Street" has hired veteran media researcher Alison Bryant as its chief research, data and impact officer.

Why it matters: Research has been a part of the show since its inception 50 years ago, but Sesame Workshop is looking to revamp its efforts for the era of big data.

  • Bryant most recently worked at the opposite end of the age spectrum, running a research center for the AARP, but has spent much of her career in children's media.

What she's saying: In an interview, Bryant told Axios that much has changed, in terms of both how to measure impact as well as how kids experience "Sesame Street." Today, some kids watch the show on PBS, others stream it on HBO Max while many others watch Cookie Monster videos on YouTube.

  • "The linear world that kids experienced 'Sesame' in in the early days doesn’t exist," she said.

The big picture: Sesame has projects across the globe as well as big grants from the MacArthur and LEGO Foundations, which require it to report its progress.. Bryant also is aiming to bring together an array of data, both unstructured and structured, which today exists in various silos.

  • "The level of scale of what we are doing globally is unmatched," she said. "That brings a level of complexity."
  • But, like Grover, her spirit Muppet, she said, "I love a challenge."

Go deeper:

Go deeper