Did you watch the season finale of Game of Thrones? More than 5.4 million did, within spitting distance of a record 5.5 million set earlier this year and up 28% over the Season 2 finale. Overall, Game of Thrones averaged 13.6 million viewers during its latest run, passing vampire drama True Blood to become the second most-watched HBO show of all time. The Lannisters don't just kill Starks; they kill vampires, too.
Fans won't be surprised to read that. George R.R. Martin's "A Song of Fire and Ice" book series -- the source material for Game of Thrones -- has won critical acclaim and a worldwide following. For Time Warner (NYSE: TWX ) , it's a win on the order of AMC Networks' (NASDAQ: AMCX ) victory with The Walking Dead, the top-rated scripted show of the fall season, says Fool contributor Tim Beyers in the following video.
Both are licensed properties. Yet both HBO and AMC have substantial authority to distribute and profit from these shows. DVD and Blu-ray sales, downloads, and international licensing deals, certainly.
A growing audience only makes these residual income sources more lucrative, Tim says. Especially so for Game of Thrones, which draws fans so rabid they're willing to pay a substantial premium to get access to the latest episodes via iTunes.
Do you believe Game of Thrones will be a catalyst for Time Warner stock? What about The Walking Dead for AMC? Please watch the video to get Tim's full take, and then leave a comment to let us know what you expect from these shows next season.
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