The premiere of the last season of Game of Thrones has put HBO back in the center of public conversation. Not only because of the untimely falls of the application, the center of all the wrath of its users, but also because of the foreseeable rebound in subscriptions regarding the series. There is no comparable television phenomenon on any other platform, and everyone, without exception, will spend the next few weeks talking about it.
The problem for HBO is what comes next.
The nothing? A study by Second Measure illustrates the extent to which HBO has a customer retention problem in the United States. In 2016, on the occasion of the sixth season, he lost two thirds of his new subscribers after three months. In 2017, coinciding with the premiere of the seventh, subscriber volume grew by 91%. Afterwards, he spent six consecutive months in free fall.
Why? Second Measure collects the data offered by HBO Now, the exclusive streaming service comparable to that offered by Netflix or Hulu. It is an imperfect image, since it does not count cable subscriptions (substantial) or those of HBO Go Service. In any case, they serve as a reference to understand the problems of growth of the platform. Right now his own catalog is unattractive.
Except Game of Thrones.
The other end. The opposite happens to Netflix. It is true that some specific phenomena, such as Stranger Things, caused a sudden rise in subscribers. But its retention rate is robust: 75% of its customers continue to pay for the service six months after signing up. HBO pales in comparison: it only retains 40% of users in the same period of time; and 26% of those who register to see Game of Thrones.
Panorama. The dynamic illustrates the problems of large-scale HBO. Last year AT&T took over the platform and announced a change of model with hype and saucer. HBO had been characterized by a qualitative approach to Netflix's quantitative philosophy, in permanent production of its own product. The strategic turn has led to 50% more content planned for this year. 150 hours in total.
The "better is better" proclaimed in his day by Richard Plepler. The new maxim is "more is better".
The future. Only in this way can you compete in an audiovisual market, that of streaming, every day more saturated. Disney is expected to launch its platform throughout this year, adding pressure to all actors. And HBO starts from an unfavorable position. Enjoy a short catalog and its only viral phenomenon, Game of Thrones, has the days numbered. You need to find new reefs or overwhelm the subscriber by mere saturation, as Netflix and Hulu have achieved.