"Game of Thrones" Passes "Sopranos" As HBO's Most Popular Show Ever

How much does on-demand viewing options play into the surging popularity of "Game of Thrones" and other shows?

Jun 15, 2014 at 4:00PM

Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) HBO confirmed that total viewership for this season of Game of Thrones (18.4 million per episode) passed the 2002 season of The Sopranos (18.2 million)making it the network's most popular show ever. Given what an absolute cultural phenomenon The Sopranos was, that's pretty impressive.

But The Sopranos was the product of a different television era, with DVRs, on-demand, and online streaming viewing still largely futuristic talking points. At the time, its audience skewed heavily toward first-run broadcasts. In an era where Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) are just as much rivals to HBO as Showtime or Starz, the way we watch television across the past 12 years has changed dramatically. The percentage of people who watch Game of Thrones as first-run TV on Sunday night is relatively low compared with its total audience size, but lots of on-demand, DVR, and online viewings have pushed the series to the top..

In this episode of The Next, Motley Fool tech analyst Eric Bleeker and Rule Breakers analyst Simon Erickson talk about how multiple viewing platforms is shaping viewing habits, as well as how production of original programming is changing in an era where between cable, premium channels like Time Warner's HBO, and online subscription products like Netflix and Amazon Prime, consumers have more choice than ever. 

Your cable company is scared, but you can get rich
You know cable as we know it today is going away. The number of cord-cutters is growing, and dominant tech companies like Amazon and Netflix are moving into the battle for the living room. But do you know how to profit? There's $2.2 trillion out there to be had. Currently, cable grabs a big piece of it. That won't last. And when cable falters, three companies are poised to benefit. Click here for their names. Hint: They're not Netflix, Google, and Apple


Eric Bleeker, CFA, and Simon Erickson have no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Amazon.com, Apple, Google (A and C shares), and Netflix. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. 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.

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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