Buddy Lo
Buddy Lo is a Sr. Technology and Consumer Electronics analyst at Mintel. He is responsible for researching and writing reports on technology and consumer electronics.

John Oliver has joked repeatedly on his HBO program, ‘Last Week Tonight’ about the perilous future HBO faces in a world without ‘Game of Thrones.’ Unfortunately for HBO, Oliver’s jokes may not be far from the truth.

Mintel research shows that among over the top (OTT) streaming users, HBO Now subscribers are nearly twice as likely as all streamers to agree they would cancel a service if a specific show/program was cancelled or ended.

Considering the cultural phenomena ‘Game of Thrones’ has become, many consumers have subscribed to HBO’s OTT service in order to get access to the popular show. While obviously a boon to AT&T’s bottom line (HBO’s parent company), those consumers pose the greatest risk to abandon the network once their beloved show is over.

Secondly, Mintel’s research shows that the subscription rate for HBO Now’s service doesn’t have any significant traction except for consumers who subscribe to four or more OTT services. Meaning HBO Now is more likely to be a household’s fourth OTT service they choose, rather than the first OTT service they choose.

This could be an opportunity for lesser known alternative networks and OTT services to undercut HBO Now and gain subscribers. At $14.99, HBO Now is also one of the costlier streaming services. Competitors could present their service as a money saver as well as a source of new entertainment.

Mintel performed a price sensitivity analysis to determine how much the general public would be willing to spend on their ideal OTT platform, and the optimal price point was $20. This indicates that most consumers will likely only budget out a monthly allowance for two to three services, so if a household is picking a service to cut, HBO Now is just as likely to be on the chopping block as Ned Stark.

HBO will need to rely on other highly anticipated shows like Westworld and already has plans for Game of Thrones spin-offs to retain these content sensitive shows. HBO is counting on its current and future lineup of content to retain the subscribers Game of Thrones attracted, otherwise many HBO Now subscribers may ask themselves:

“Not today.”