In TV’s ‘Game of Thrones,’ HBO Fights With Ice and Fire

A just-released 14-minute preview of the new season suggests heavy action, drama, and investment.

Feb 12, 2014 at 9:49AM

Game Of Thrones Kit Harrington

Kit Harington's Jon Snow should play a big role in season 4 of Game of Thrones. Credit: HBO.

Count me among those guilty of occasionally dismissing HBO after taking a close look at the outrageous gains Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) is enjoying. You know what? I shouldn't be so quick to scoff.

The latest preview for season 4 of Game of Thrones -- a 14-minutes epic I've embedded below for your viewing pleasure -- suggests the network has invested heavily to give GoT viewers everything they want from the show: a bloody, tragic, terrifying epic tale featuring lovable (Sam, Dany), loathsome (Joffrey, Tywin), and terribly complex (Jaime, Tyrion) characters.

It's an impressive formula created by author George R.R. Martin. His A Song of Ice and Fire books inspired the show. Season 4 opens on April 2 and will apparently focus on the second half of A Storm of Swords, volume three of the seven-part series.

History says audiences will be thrilled with what showrunner David Benioff and his team bring to screen, which bodes well for HBO parent Time Warner (NYSE:TWX). Here's a closer look at recent financial trends and how they map to last year's huge jump in GoT viewership:

% Change

HBO revenue

$4,890 million

$4,686 million


HBO operating income

$1,678 million

$1,547 million


Estimated HBO subscribers (domestic)

28.81 million

27.47 million


Game of Thrones U.S. viewership (median)

4.89 million

3.79 million


Sources: Time Warner, Wikipedia.

Good numbers, right? Sure, but the better news -- especially if you own Time Warner stock -- is that these figures represent a small part of the story. HBO has often said that GoT draws more than 13 million viewers per episode once you count those who tune in later via DVR, on-demand, repeats, and the like. Within spitting distance of the zombie megahit The Walking Dead, in other words.

Will 2014 bring further growth? It sure looks like it. The preview below has already amassed nearly 3.9 million YouTube views in 24 hours. A season 4 trailer released a month ago has more than 17 million views. Season 3's previews never made it past 3.8 million views.

Winter is coming alright. And unlike the poor souls stuck in Westeros, Time Warner investors should benefit from the chill.

Now, enjoy the preview! When you're done, please leave a comment below to let us know what you think of Game of Thrones and Time Warner stock.

How to become as rich as a Lannister
HBO wants to be your primary source of entertainment. So do any number of others. Add it up, and it's clear the cable business you know is going away. But do you know how to profit from the shift? There's $2.2 trillion up for grabs, and three companies are poised to benefit most. Click here for their names. Hint: They're not Netflix, Google, and Apple.

Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple, Google, Netflix, and Time Warner at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

The Motley Fool recommends Apple, Google, and Netflix. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Google, and Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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