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Game of Thrones Airing Early on HBO GO

For those HBO subscribers lucky enough to have access to HBO GO through their cable provider, the Wall Street Journal has revealed very interesting news: some episodes of the series will air on HBO GO even before they air on television! No specific details of this initative, such as how much earlier (an hour? a day?), are provided in the article. However, it does have a lot of very interesting things to say about the prospects of the show…

Some salient quotes:

... has already become HBO’s best-selling property abroad, according to people close to the network… HBO in the past three years has doubled spending on finding and developing its own series, such as “Boardwalk Empire” and “Thrones,” which cost $60 million for its first 10-episode season.

Though the network’s number of domestic subscribers has remained essentially flat at 40 million, its international subscribers have increased to more than 42 million this year from about 28 million in 2007. To tap that growing foreign audience, HBO is counting on series like “Thrones,” which targets a wider set of viewers than some of its recent miniseries, such as “Mildred Pierce,” which aimed at a higher-end audience… “Thrones,” which features such magical trappings as petrified dragons’ eggs, fetched more than $2.5 million an episode from sales to international television channels. That’s more than 50% higher than the international price tag for the network’s hit “The Sopranos.”

So, nearly half the cost of producing the first season has been covered by international sales? This is a good sign, especially if ratings are strong (both domestically and abroad), for the showing have legs to run not just two or three seasons, but four, five, six… or even seven, if it all holds up. This gives more context to last week’s article in Variety discussing MIP TV sales, where the fact that the show was selling extremely well was also noted.

According to HBO, HBO GO should be available in about 80% of cable-TV households by early May, potentially suggesting that some other major cable companies will jump on board to offer the service from the current, limited list.

Thanks to ningrim for the tip about the article.

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