HBO is at a crossroads as its very popular Game of Thrones comes to an end



"Thrones" begins its final season of six episodes on Sunday, in what should be a triumphant moment for HBO. Few series approach the estimated 30 million viewers that "Thrones" had on average last year from all sources, a feat all the more impressive as subscription-based HBOs are in far fewer homes than cable and basic television shows.

Yet, as the show moves closer to the finish line – at least in this form – the chain going to the air is at a crossroads and at the end of the corporate era.

HBO marks this last step as part of an overhaul of management, unusual for a place characterized in part by its stability and institutional knowledge. New owner AT & T (T) called for a change in the strategy of the network, seeking to meet the challenge of barbarians streaming to the door. (AT & T also owns CNN's parent company, WarnerMedia)
Richard Plepler, long-time CEO of HBO, announced his resignation in February, after 28 years with the company. A number of former network employees – who have gained self-sufficiency with annual profits in excess of $ 1 billion – have either followed suit or are planning to do so.

Meanwhile, HBO is looking to reload its programming with a series of new series and key series such as "Big Little Lies", in hopes of taking advantage of the huge "Game of Thrones" mailing. as a promotional springboard.

The casting of Game of Thrones during the first season of the red carpet
However, the world of television has changed dramatically since the farewells of "The Sopranos" about ten years ago. Netflix (NFLX) has become a major rival – matching Emmy Hull from HBO last year and ending his most nominated network series. Other new rivals, including Amazon, Hulu and Apple's next challenge, have joined networks such as Showtime, FX and AMC to aggressively attract the prestige market.
How Game of Thrones & # 39; TV conquered with drama and dragons

It has therefore become harder to stand out from the crowd, making the huge investment in a project such as "Thrones" – one of the most expensive ever made for television – more perilous than ever before. he does not hold.

On April 3, HBO staged its last "Game of Thrones", the kind of lavish party for which the channel is known. The audience invaded Radio City Music Hall in New York, where HBO brought together dozens of actors who participated in the series and many of whom experienced a violent end.

At the screening, D.B. Weiss, who along with his partner producer David Benioff, presented on screen the creation of author George R.R. Martin, summed up the mood. He clearly thanked Plepler for his confidence in the show, before talking about the journey that the actors and the team enjoyed.

"It is possible that nobody will live again this experience," he said.

Bob Greenblatt

The new HBO team will be eager to prove it, as AT & T has made the network a central pillar of its streaming service project which is scheduled for release later this year.

Although the first marked a celebration, it took a darker and nostalgic tone. The question is whether this equates to a temporary cooling or a long winter. Bob Greenblatt, former head of the entertainment industry at NBC and previously a HBO rival, Showtime, joined the company in March as president of the entertainment industry and director for the consumer, under the supervision of HBO.

As demonstrated by the passport stick "The Sopranos", the television sector manages to confuse expectations and expectations. If it is premature to say that there will be no other premium series on the scale Game of Thrones, it is fair to say that There will be no crowd capable of being legitimized as his heir.


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