HBO is following the same playbook as last year to build excitement and subscribers for the season three premiere of Game of Thrones. HBO tightly controls where you can watch its shows. While other networks will make their shows available on iTunes, Amazon or their websites the next day, the only place to watch an HBO premiere is HBO. An exception was the Newsroom which was also available on YouTube but it was also a season one premiere.
If HBO is following the same plan as last year, don’t be surprised if there’s another significant announcement about HBO GO before the March 31st premiere. Last year, HBO announced the availability of HBO GO for the Xbox as well as adding interactive features to the HBO GO iPad app before the season two premiere. This year, HBO has already added AirPlay to their iPhone and iPad apps. Perhaps HBO GO will be added to another platform such as the Playstation3. HBO has already stated that a native Apple TV app is coming but hasn’t supplied any dates.
Like last year, the previous season’s Blu-ray / DVD is about to be released just short of the new season. Initially, Target had the best pricing for the season 2 set at $30 in store (including an exclusive George R.R. Martin interview). However, Amazon has now met the price on the eve of the release. While Best Buy has some exclusive Lannister and Greyjoy packaging, it’s still pricing the set at $35 at this moment.
A lot of the pre-show hype is focused on the Night’s Watch. HBO has put up a web site called My Watch Begins where you can record your oath to the Night’s Watch. In addition, they’ve put together a web video on the history of the watch below. In New York, there was a Night’s Watch event at the Union Square Best Buy complete with foods from the Seven Kingdoms. I couldn’t attend as I was manning the wall up in here in the cold north.
Don’t be surprised if HBO throws out the playbook next year given significant changes in HBO’s Digital team. Following the departure of Digital Exec Alison Moore, All Things D has reported on the group’s restructuring. A leaked memo on the restructruing refers to the group’s disrupting technology. However, don’t expect any disruption around the need for a cable subscription to watch HBO.
Update: The season three trailer has been added below. Enjoy!
Update: HBO will be available for free on FIOS for the Game of Thrones premiere, March 31st.
History of the Night’s Watch
Season 3 Trailer