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Assessing Time Warner’s Key Driver of Viewership Growth in 2017


Dec. 18 2017, Updated 7:30 a.m. ET

GOT viewership

Time Warner’s (TWX) Home Box Office (HBO) division has achieved record quarterly subscription revenue growth over the past 13 years, buoyed by the massive success of the popular hit original series Game of Thrones or GOT.

Viewership in GOT Season 7, which was aired between July and August 2017, witnessed a 27% YoY (year-over-year) rise to 33 million viewers, compared with the sixth season. The final episode hit another record of 16.5 million viewers, according to Nielsen (NLSN) data.

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GOT is driving HBO’s revenues

HBO’s revenues rose 13% YoY to $1.6 billion in 3Q17, driven by a 12.6% YoY rise in subscription revenues. HBO in September received 29 Primetime Emmy Awards for multiple shows, including for Veep, Big Little Lies, and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver.

HBO’s revenues also include money generated from its OTT (over-the-top) service, HBO Now—HBO’s digital-only service that boasts two million subscribers. According to app store analytics firm App Annie, the HBO Now app was downloaded more than 500,000 times in the first week of the GOT Season 7 release, making it the third highest in the top grossing charts on both iOS (AAPL) and Google Play (GOOGL).

Post-GOT plans

To keep fans closely connected with GOT, HBO has also introduced The Games Revealed, which includes behind-the-scenes footage of the sets, the crew, and interviews with the crew.

In a bid to keep the momentum going, HBO has started a new TV series, The Deuce, starring James Franco. Other hit series including Ballers and True Detective could help TWX drive its subscriber growth going forward.

Meanwhile, AT&T’s (T) Entertainment unit, which includes DIRECTV subscribers, may also benefit from the upcoming potential merger with Time Warner, providing AT&T with easy access to GOT Season 8.


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