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How Game of Thrones changed television...and the business of television

6 2 23
14.04.2019

The final season of Game of Thrones is not just a landmark moment in pop culture. It's also an enormously significant event for Australia's $4 billion a year pay TV business.

The hit HBO fantasy drama, which begins its prolonged denouement on Monday morning, Australian time, is perhaps the defining program of an era sometimes described as TV's second golden age.

Game of Thrones changed TV...and the business of TV Game of Thrones Season 3 - Daenerys Targaryen.jpgCredit:HBO

The show rewrote the rulebook for television, abruptly killing off key characters, embracing sex, violence and taboos with fervour, and it propelled terms like 'Winter is Coming' and 'Red Wedding' into mainstream discourse.

In an age of Netflix - the streaming platform famously releases all episodes of its original series at once - it is also arguably the last example of 'event TV' on a mass scale. Few things besides live sport compel people to tune in and watch TV at the same time in their own countries anymore, let alone around the world (at often inconvenient hours).

In a business context, the fast approaching end to Thrones raises some interesting strategic questions about the future of HBO itself, and for the Australian media companies that license - or would like to license - its content.

In Australia, HBO content........

© Brisbane Times