For Sunday night TV viewers, winter is coming.
After an eight-year run that set records and created cultural catchphrases, AT&T Inc (NYSE: T)’s HBO will air the final "Game of Thrones" episode Sunday night.
The end of the series will leave a weekend entertainment void for fans of House Stark and House Lannister and for the network, which set viewership records with the fantasy-themed series.
The final season of the series, based on books by George R.R. Martin, has averaged 43 million viewers per episode when streams of past episodes are factored in, according to HBO.
Last weekend's episode drew 18.4 million initial viewers, a season high so far, almost guaranteeing the final season will end up as the series’ most-watched.
The season eight premiere drew 17.4 million viewers, and HBO said the premiere represented the biggest night of streaming ever for any program.
The end of the series begs the question : how will it affect HBO once it is no more?
HBO’s worldwide subscriber base has increased over the life of the show, and some of the 142 million subscribers could drop HBO when "GOT" is gone.
"'Game of Thrones' has become the cornerstone of HBO," Craig Moffett, telecom analyst with MoffettNathanson, told The Hollywood Reporter. "Losing it was always going to be painful.”
The show's ending could mean a drop in value for the products it inspired, from "Game of Thrones" Pop! figures from Funko, Inc. (NASDAQ: FNKO) to a collection of sneakers from Adidas AG (OTC: ADDYY) tied to "GOT," to a mobile game from Zynga Inc. (NASDAQ: ZNGA).
Liquor and beverage company Diageo plc (NYSE: DEO) made two efforts to take advantage of the show’s popularity. It released a special collection of eight single malt Scotch whiskies, with names like House Lannister and The Night’s Watch, and also released White Walker by Johnnie Walker, a Scotch blend.
Loss Of Copy
Entertainment publications are also worried about the drop in traffic once they they no longer have regular "GOT" updates. TV Guide reportedly has published more than 100 "GOT" articles in the last two months alone.
Fortunately, perhaps, for viewers, Martin has said three spin-offs are in the works.
"Game of Thrones" has won 47 Emmy awards and a Golden Globe, and been nominated for and won several other accolades. The 47 Emmys are the second-most for a primetime show, behind only "Saturday Night Live."
And now its watch has ended.
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