The end of Game of Thrones has led to a loss of subscribers for AT&T across all of its platforms, including HBO. This is according to banking firm KeyBanc, which analyzed the companies’ credit card data. AT&T’s primary viewing sources include its cable business, Direct TV and its offshoot AT&T TV NOW, as well as streaming apps like HBO GO. Just how many subscribers AT&T has lost following the Game of Thrones series finale is unclear.
To be fair, HBO’s subscriber base did increase by 57% this year, but KeyBanc suspects that was due to the final season of Game of Thrones, which again, is over, which is sort of the problem. HBO is doing its darndest to give viewers a reason to stick around or sign up with shows like Watchmen and His Dark Materials, plus the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel series House of the Dragon. But while those shows might eventually grow into big hits, replicating the success of Thrones will prove difficult.
All of this is of particular concern for AT&T as it forges ahead with plans to debut HBO Max, its own streaming service, next year. KeyBanc, continuing the rain of pain, predicts that this service will be “nowhere near as popular as Disney+.” Meanwhile, AT&T share prices are sliding after research firm MoffettNathanson issued a rare “sell” recommendation. It’s ouch all around for AT&T.
Disney+ launched to much fanfare earlier this month, and reported gaining 10 million subscribers in its first week of existence (Verizon customers got it free for a year). Even with comfort food shows like Friends and The Big Bang Theory appearing exclusively on HBO Max, Wall Street appears doubtful that the service will be able to stand up to the competition, which also includes the likes of Netflix and Amazon Video.
My recommendation? AT&T needs to give us a Jon Snow/Tormund buddy comedy north of the Wall, costarring Ghost. Business problems solved.
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h/t The Street