HBO enjoys monumental success with their apps over the weekend of the season 8 premiere of Game of Thrones. This is a milestone accomplishment and showcases not only the love for this epic show but the shift toward streaming over live television and cable/satellite. The HBO Now app is the service for customers without a television HBO package and HBO GO is a mobile app for those who are already subscribers with their cable or satellite provider.
Game of Thrones has a special nostalgia about it and its popularity is almost unprecedented. It is a global phenomenon because it captures the magic of fantasy and delivers it in a mature adult format. Tales of dungeons, dragons, wizards, kings, and knights are often more family oriented such as tales of King Arthur, The Lord of The Rings, or something out of Marvel comics. GOT is truly in a class of its own with superior source material, directing, writing, acting, and vision.
The trend has been ongoing over the past decade plus. People are watching YouTube, social media, Netflix, and other internet and streaming media content more than watching traditional live television. People are dropping their cable and satellite providers in a similar fashion to how cellular phones replaced home, car, and pay phones. Before HBO offered direct digital services, it was directly connected to the success of cable and satellite service. Now HBO is more diversified and independent with the opportunity to get a significant slice of the streaming industry that Netflix and Amazon dominate. Other companies such as DC and Disney have recently launched robust streaming services to remain competitive as this is the trend of the future. Even for those traditionally subscribed, downloads of HBO GO had a record weekend of downloads as viewing on laptops, tablets, and phones are taking away from television usage.
The thing that really sets HBO apart from other basic cable channels and companies releasing streaming services is the quality of original content. HBO has a long reputation of producing the greatest television shows ever made and playing the best movies. Game of Thrones is arguably the greatest show ever made and is superior to movie quality in many aspects. Other legendary shows like The Sopranos, The Wire, and Boardwalk Empire are on most top 10 lists of best shows ever made. This may be the last season of Game of Thrones but there will be a spin off series released soon and the upcoming Watchmen series looks to be very promising as well.
The HBO Now app trended number 1 in the Apple store and had over 300,000 installs over the weekend just through that one platform. The HBO GO app had 400,000 new downloads and 17.4 million streamed the season 8 premiere episode of GOT between these two and other apps. The numbers are expected to continuously rise throughout the season, particularly for the second episode. As mobile devices continue to become more advanced and people watch entertainment more on the go or in the convenience of their hand, the more successful the HBO apps will become. A big reason why many people have cable and satellite is for premiere channels like HBO. This promotes the usage of the HBO GO app and those abandoning traditional television providers are flocking to the HBO Now app.As mentioned this momentum and popularity is largely due to the success of GOT and HBO is prepared to carry on the mantle after the series ends. The new spin off series will air in 2020 or 2021 and be a prequel. It has the opportunity to capture much of the initial magic GOT had in its first few seasons. Other new original series, access to the vault of historically great shows, the plethora of movies, and business model has HBO in good position to compete with the other streaming juggernauts and the ones just getting started for the foreseeable future.