Fan reaction to Game of Thrones’ final season may be mixed, but the show has been undeniably good for HBO’s network — and for its over-the-top streaming service, HBO NOW. The Season 8 premiere drew in 11.8 million live viewers and 17.4 million viewers across all platforms on the day of airing, as well as a record number of sign-ups to HBO NOW, which in March was reported to have 8 million subscribers. But the show’s finale airs this Sunday, and HBO is set to see a huge exodus of streaming subscribers, as result.
According to new research from Mintel released this week, HBO NOW users are twice as likely as those from any other streaming service to cancel their subscription when a specific show ends.
The only service that performed worse on this front was YouTube Premium. And that’s not exactly an apples-to-apples comparison, given that its subscriber base also includes YouTube viewers who want to go ad-free — not just those who are there for its original content.
The new findings are telling in terms of how heavily HBO has been relying on Game of Thrones to grow its streaming platform over the years. In addition, the metrics indicate potential struggles ahead for HBO parent company WarnerMedia’s forthcoming streaming service. Due to launch into beta later this year, the service will be led by HBO content. But without new episodes of Game of Thrones, it will have to rely on other popular shows, like Westworld, to pull in viewers.
However, even though Westworld is HBO’s second most-watched show, Game of Thrones has triple the number of viewers.