Game of Thrones is not just one of the biggest shows that’s watched globally, it’s also one of the biggest shows in the world financially. Being chosen for filming parts of Westeros or Essos is like winning the tourist lottery for small historical European cities. Not to mention the amount of job creation that comes with it, both in front of the camera for the casts of thousands, but also behind, as a crew of thousands is also necessary to make a show with a cast of thousands run.
But those who see the biggest bottom line rise from the program’s run are those who air it. HBO has not only profited handsomely, they timed their launch of an entire stand alone streaming channel, an entire new source of revenue, off the back of it. Meanwhile, across the pond in the UK, Sky is reporting today that it has reached record breaking profits for the year 2016, most of which can be credited to landing airing rights to the program after the BBC got cold feet and pulled out early in the development process.
According to The Belfast Telegraph:
The Game Of Thrones broadcaster lifted operating profits 12% to £1.6 billion in the full year to June 30, while revenues climbed 7% to £11.9 billion over the period. The financial boost came as full-year revenues leapt above £8 billion to £8.3 billion in the UK and Ireland for the first time in its history. Shares were up 6% on the FTSE 100 Index.
Along with those profits came the announcement that subscriptions had risen once again, with 445,000 customers signing up for the service. According to their final ratings, more that six million people on average tuned into each Season 6 episode this past spring. This despite the fact that the channel lost the valuable Champions League football asset, which has now moved to upstart rival channel BT.
But with Game of Thrones having less episodes for it’s final two seasons, and not airing until later in the calendar year, Sky will have to start looking for a replacement show to keep up these numbers, much as HBO has begun scrambling to do.