HBO’s most popular show is proportionally more associated with HBO Now than HBO could cause concern for cable companies, which can be shut out as the middleman provider for the program, says Amobee.
HBO Now may have put all its eggs in the "Game of Thrones" basket, since documentaries and limited series are unlikely to be a driver of HBO Now subscriptions.
For instance, while 8% of all HBO consumption between March 9 - April 8 was related to Robert Durst documentary "The Jinx" and 3% of HBO consumption was related to the Scientology film "Going Clear," only 0.4% of HBO Now consumption was related to "The Jinx" in the same time period. None of HBO Now consumption related to "Going Clear."
Even HBO original series aren't driving as much interest as "Thrones." "True Detective" received only 4% of HBO Now related interest, "Silicon Valley" at 3%, "The Sopranos" at 3%, and "The Wire" mentioned in 1% of HBO Now related interest.
Conversely, HBO Now is driving awareness for both the standalone service, as well as the traditional pay channel. HBO consumption has been up 85% since the press conference announcing HBO Now would be available on Apple devices and sharing the new "Game of Thrones" trailer, comparing March 9 - April 8 to February 6 - March 8.
Illustrating the huge lift in awareness the combined launch of HBO Now and the anticipation around the new "Game of Thrones" season is providing for the entire HBO brand.
However, "Game of Thrones" does have some competition when it comes to online fandom.
Some 38% of all AMC digital consumption between March 9 - April 8 was related to "The Walking Dead," compared to 19% of all HBO consumption relating to "Game of Thrones," indicating "The Waking Dead" is more proportionally valuable to AMC than "Game of Thrones" is to HBO.
By comparison, "Mad Men" accounted for 22% of AMC related consumption, and "Breaking Bad" 8% in the same time period. "With 'Mad Men' ending next month, and 'Breaking Bad' having already ended; it becomes even more apparent how singularly valuable 'The Walking Dead' is to AMC," says Amobee. "Even assuming 'Game of Thrones' makes more money for HBO, AMC is more dependent for 'The Walking Dead' for its success."
These findings help to measure the value of these series, since it is hard to compare them using a traditional metric like TV ratings, as HBO and AMC have different business models. However, by comparing them on a more even playing field, such as online digital consumption, "The Walking Dead" gets bigger TV ratings, "Game of Thrones" is slightly more popular overall.
Moreover, this popularity has maintained steady over the past few years. Comparing March 2015 to March 2014, the month before the start of a new season, consumption around "Game of Thrones "increased 2%. The show's popularity grew a little bit, but is essentially holding steady.
There was also 2% more consumption around "The Walking Dead" in October 2014, the month of the show's season premiere than around "Game of Thrones" in any month in the last year.