One of our favorite TV shows at Tech of the Hub is Game of Thrones. The other day I saw that the Blu-ray was available for pre-order at Amazon. On the cover, it had a big label saying “1080P FULL HD VIDEO – DTS MASTER AUDIO”. I think the folks at HBO know how to market to me. If it’s doesn’t cost too much, maybe I’ll pick it up. Then reality sank in, it’s $55 at Amazon and it won’t be out till March 6th. Too much for something I’ve already seen. It’s also going to available on iTunes on the same day for $39 in 720P HD. Update (3/4/2012): The price has now dropped to $35 at Amazon and Best Buy.
|The Game of Thrones Season One Blu-ray is available for pre-order|
Both the timing and pricing seemed strange to me at first. Reaching out to HBO, I found out this is the normal window for pre-announcing a release and our research on Amazon confirmed this (season 1of That 70′s Show is coming out the same day). But there is a method to the madness. The season 2 premiere is in April which is just enough time for you to catch up and then subscribe to HBO. And the pricing, it’s high enough for you to ask yourself the question, “Why don’t I just subscribe to HBO, I can can watch season one on HBO GO” Now you know why Reed Hastings, the CEO of Netflix, fears HBO more than any other competitor. Everything in their strategy drives you to subscribe to HBO. HBO appears to be the really winner of the Game of Thrones.
I now realize how my expectations around content pricing have changed. In 2003, I remember paying $65 for a season 3 Sopranos DVD set. Given the challenging economy and digital delivery, prices have fallen. Blu-rays cost less now than DVDs did years ago. Usually, streaming video costs even less and it should be since we’re not paying for retail overhead. All-you-can-watch plans like Netflix, Amazon Prime and even HBO Go have probably changed our perceived value of digital media more than anything else. It’s going to be a long winter waiting for the premiere. Here’s the latest preview for season 2 of Game of Thrones.