Media & Entertainment

No Surprise: HBO Likely To Lose Subscribers After ‘Game of Thrones’

If you’ve been watching Game of Thrones religiously since it first arrived on HBO in 2011, you’re probably looking forward to the series finale this Sunday night with a mix of excitement and dread. (Whether that dread is from losing your favorite show or from the mixed reviews we’ve had this season is up to you.)

But will you continue to subscribe to HBO after the show is over? That’s what CivicScience asked more than 2,700 U.S. adults in a poll ranging from mid-April to early May.

The results show that HBO should brace for a pretty big hit. Most subscribers, though — even a sizable contingent of Thrones watchers — will stay the course.

Among HBO subscribers polled, almost exactly half reported that they watch Game of Thrones in the first place. Among those that do watch the TV phenomenon of the 2010s, just under half say they’ll ax their HBO account when Game of Thrones is over (47%). Of course, that adds up to nearly a quarter of the HBO subscribers that CivicScience polled jumping ship.

Millennials were the age group by far the most likely to watch GOT, with an impressive 63% of Millennial HBO subscribers saying they’re Thrones fans. Unfortunately for HBO, though, the good times won’t last. Among GOT watchers, Millennials were tied with Generation Z to be the most likely to cancel HBO after the show ends (57%).

The more TV a person watches each day, the more likely they are to keep HBO after the end of Game of Thrones. By far the group likeliest to cancel is those who “never” watch TV, suggesting they got HBO mostly to join in on the GOT craze.

HBO Subscriptions vs. Streaming Services

Game of Thrones watchers who also subscribe to other popular streaming services like Netflix (60%), Hulu (56%), and Amazon Prime (58%) were more likely than the general population (53%) to keep HBO after the end of the show.

HBO Now vs. Traditional HBO

Those who get HBO through the company’s streaming service, HBO NOW, are way more likely to watch Game of Thrones — a whopping 70% of HBO NOW subscribers polled watch GOT. That dwarfs the 42% of traditional HBO users who watch the show. And it seems that those HBO NOW subscribers have decided the service will continue to be worth the $15 monthly charge after Thrones: about 63% of these Thrones watchers say they’ll keep HBO in the post-GOT world. Great news, right?

Not quite. According to the CivicScience survey, only one of every five HBO subscribers watches via HBO NOW. What’s more, GOT watchers who get HBO through traditional means are much less likely to keep it after Thrones ends — only 45% of those polled said they’d hang on to their subscriptions.

Of course, HBO must have anticipated that its subscriber numbers would take a hit once the battle for the Iron Throne finally came to its conclusion. Maybe that’s why they’re reportedly working with author George R.R. Martin to develop three “successor shows” (a.k.a. spin-offs), with one apparently ready to shoot later this year.

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