With ‘Game of Thrones,’ HBO Seeks to Slay Cable’s Other Dragons

Time Warner’s pay channel picks up two more seasons of the fantasy drama, putting it on par with cable’s biggest names.

Tim Beyers
Tim Beyers
Apr 27, 2014 at 4:07AM
The Business

The war for Westeros will go on at least another two years. Earlier this month, HBO reupped Game of Thrones for two more seasons. Fool contributor Tim Beyers explains the implications in the following video.

Tim says it's an important move for Time Warner (NYSE:TWX.DL). What The Walking Dead is for AMC Networks, Game of Thrones is for HBO. Viewership for season 4's first three episodes is up between 39% and 51%. And that's only counting those who watch with an HBO subscription.

The real numbers are likely much bigger than the 6 million-plus who tune in live, and may even rival the 15 million-plus The Walking Dead drew in its season 4 finale. Game of Thrones is TV's most pirated show, after all, and freeloaders may have helped crash HBO GO's streaming servers during the season 4 premiere. Executives didn't complain.

Nor did they blink when author George R.R. Martin -- upon whose A Song of Ice and Fire book series the show is based -- teased the possibility of a movie to wrap everything up. A movie that could easily cost $100 million or more to produce.

Tim says investors should expect Warner to keep paying the freight, especially now that Game of Thrones has joined the ranks of The Walking Dead and House of Cards as a must-watch franchise that's catapulted cable and streamed TV to new heights.

Now it's your turn to weigh in. How far do you expect HBO and Warner to take Game of Thrones? Please watch the video to get the full story and then leave a comment to let us know your take, including whether you would buy, sell, or short Time Warner stock at current prices.