HBO viewership dropped massively, thanks to 'GoT' ending, COVID-19
Till May 19, 2019, HBO ruled, but not much after that. That's because, wildly popular series, Game of Thrones, came to an end that day. And the fact that the final season earned more brickbats than laurels says a lot about the expectations viewers had from the fantasy drama. And as if GoT ending wasn't enough to crumble HBO, coronavirus gave the final blow.
The entertainment channel lost over half of its linear audience in the 18-49 age bracket months after GoT concluded. This, experts state, is the aftermath of a process called "churn" through which the audience shifts its allegiance from one entertainment brand. It takes place because of two possible reasons: one being the ending of their favorite show and the other, a subscription fee hike.
Honestly, HBO saw it coming as social media was abuzz with GIFs and memes by GoT fans, who made it clear that they would jump ship once their favorite show stops airing. Brett Sappington, senior research director at market research firm Parks Associates, highlighted that churn was allowed but "what we're seeing is that these companies are experiencing the other side of the sword."
After the 59 Primetime Emmy Award winner concluded, linear TV viewing on HBO declined by 38% demographically. The shift got adjusted in 2020, when viewers were more inclined toward news since the year was dominated by some big developments, like the US Presidential polls and coronavirus pandemic. Hence, Fox News witnessed a 43% jump, while MSNBC and CNN saw a 23% and 83% rise, respectively.
Since "single-digit declines are the new up" on linear TV, the push towards OTT platform HBO Max seems to bear fruit with the experimental OTT release of Wonder Woman 1984. Streaming service measurement and analytics firm, Antenna, claims that in the first three days of the film's streaming, more sign-ups were recorded compared to on any other OTTs within that same period in 2019.