by Jennifer Riggins
Published on 13 June 2014
There is no doubt that Game of Thrones is a record breaker - HBO's biggest success, THE show to mainstream fantasy, biggest water-cooler topic since Lost, simply most awesomely jaw-dropping show ever - but delving into the business intelligence behind its success, we start to learn that GoT's success isn't based simply on its awesomeness. As the GetApp team is anxiously awaiting Sunday's extra-long season finale "The Children," we thought we'd pair up with maesters of cloud business intelligence BIME to really learn the secret formula behind Game of Thrones.
Warning: I'm a geeky fan who will try not to add any spoilers in here, but if you are not a citizen of Westeros, you may be lost in some references. This shouldn't happen. You should just watch Game of Thrones. (Unless you of course are against absurd death scenes or dragons. But, really, why would you ever be against dragons?)
Since TV sets started driving the focus of our living rooms, moments out there have become real moments in our lives. Sometimes it's in the news - no one can deny the profound impact of Neil Armstrong bouncing on our moon or waking up that day in September to see the New York skyline changed forever. For those of us in Spain, we dream of red and gold grasping the World Cup again next month.
Fiction can invoke as much emotion as reality. Some of us are still trying to figure out the ending of Lost or wish Joey had chosen differently on the Creek. Back in '83, M*A*S*H's series finale set the standard of dénouement with 105 million viewers, a world record that still hasn't been beaten.
But since the early 80s things have changed. We had VHS to record what we missed, and now DVR lets us pause for popcorn and never miss a show again. And we're no longer stuck to the couch - whole businesses like Netflix have helped drive us to watch shows on demand from anywhere, not just on our immovable TV, but on our Playstation, laptops, iPads or even cell phones.
According to BIME business intelligence, YouTube and Netflix together now count for more than half of the American downstream traffic.
And it's not just the production companies making money off this movement. BIME's research said that more than a million people flocked to download this season premiere of Game of Thrones in just the first 24 hours. Of course, that may have been encouraged because HBO decided to not sell a Season 4 pass on iTunes or other video distribution sites, leaving fans with two options - to pay for HBO GO (if you live in the U.S., U.K. or Canada) or to find more legally gray ways to watch. With spoilers on social media and at work, waiting until it comes out on DVD, iTunes, or Amazon is simply not an option.
"The world of by-appointment on-premise TV is giving way to online streaming services," wrote Tiberiu Iacomi, and live TV is fading away as we all become accustomed to video on demand.
Yes, HBO is a pioneer in television, pairing some of the biggest Hollywood stars with movie-size production budgets, all while definitively raising the quality of primetime drama. But its reign is purely American, with a growing but recent focus on Canada and the U.K. Netflix continues to grow by expanding to countries, particularly Europe, outside this realm. And even domestically, Netflix now surpasses HBO in terms of local subscribers.
As HBO looked to reach out to Netflix's streaming audiences, it partnered with Amazon Prime, but may have missed the mark again by restricting seasons until years later or, for Game of Thrones and Sex & the City, not at all.
All of this supports Netflix's goal of creating original content and offering a wider array on demand in order to become HBO before HBO becomes them. The next couple years will serve to tell us who will end up on the on-demand throne.
First and foremost, you really should always pay your debts. And then you need to measure your business' failures and successes, how you match up with your competition, and track your past and future. Using a business analysis tool like BIME can turn all your marketing and strategic research into consumable graphs just like the ones in this post. First and foremost, you really should measure everything you try, but without the proper methods to interpret it all, it's like trying to explain diplomacy to a tyrant - a useful exercise. Try out a business intelligence or big data tool to get it all done more quickly.