Game of Thrones brings British broadcaster Sky UK record revenues


Game of Thrones isn’t just one of the most-watched shows around the world; it’s also one of the most lucrative. For small historical European cities, being chosen as a filming spot for the show is like winning the tourist lottery, not to mention the amount of jobs it creates, both in front of and behind the camera, as extras and crew members by the hundreds are required to make HBO’s machine run.

But the people who see the biggest bump in their bottom lines are the ones who manage the companies that air the show. HBO has not only profited handsomely; it timed the launch of its standalone streaming channel HBO Now, an entire new source of revenue, to coincide with the debut of Season 5.

Meanwhile, across the pond, British broadcaster Sky UK is reporting today that it reaped record-breaking profits for the year 2016, despite the fact that the channel lost the valuable Champions League football asset, which has now moved to upstart rival channel BT. This news can be credited in part to landing the right to air Game of Thrones 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 final ratings, more that six million people on average tuned into each episode of Season 6 this past spring.

But with Game of Thrones having fewer episodes in its final two seasons, and not airing until later in the calendar year 2017, Sky will have to start looking for a replacement show to keep up these numbers, much as HBO has begun scrambling to do.