Unless you’ve been residing in a cave over the last few months, you have probably heard that Game of Thrones was coming to an end. Correction, you would most likely need to live very far down the depths of the cave in order to have missed that media news. If that is the case, I am sorry to burden you with that unfortunate update. Regardless of your opinions on the final episode of Throne’s, one thing is certain, television is changing. We know, we know, you have all heard this before but this time it’s true, we swear. The hype over this seasons finale of Game of Thrones, while not unprecedented, was something that has been happening less and less as the years pass by. True to form, we will define hype for you for those that have spent more time texting abbreviations than studying a thesaurus. Hype is defined as, “extravagant or intensive publicity or promotion.” In short, when there is extensive hype around a television show, it gives all of us something to talk about around the water cooler. The usual chit-chat regarding the latest Tribe pitcher to succumb to the I.R. list, or the pending Brown’s victories in the Fall have ceded to the buzz revolving around the show airing at 9:00 on Sunday. Everyone has a prediction and once that fails to materialize, another premonition for the following episode. Sadly, most did not have a clue what was going to occur on Game of Thrones and one thing is clear, the talking will soon slow to a crawl as the search for a new binge-worthy show will come into view.
It is worth noting that the Game of Thrones finale did not even enter the top 10 when it comes to must-watched series finales. Those 10 shows are as follows:
- M.A.S.H.-106 million viewers
- Cheers- 80.4 million viewers
- The Fugitive- 78 million viewers
- Seinfeld- 76.3 million viewers
- Friends- 52.5 million viewers
- Magnum P.I.- 50.7 million viewers
- The Cosby Show- 44.4 million viewers
- All In The Family- 40.2 million viewers
- Family Ties- 36.3 million viewers
- Home Improvement- 35.5 million viewers (mentalfloss.com)
Almost proving our point regarding hype, in researching those statistics, the next two articles on the page were all Game of Thrones related. If you would like to see for yourself, click on this link: http://mentalfloss.com/article/24673/10-most-watched-series-finales-ever. Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones fittingly entitled, “The Iron Throne” had 19.3 million viewers. Those numbers made it the most watched telecast in HBO history. In total, it is estimated that each episode of season 8 is averaging 44.2 million viewers. (CNN). For those of you disappointed in the finale, we side with, “CNN’s TV and movie critic Brian Lowry who said that overall the episode “wasn’t a one-for-the-ages finale” but wasn’t “an unworthy one either.” “Flaws and all, ‘Game of Thrones’ rewrote the rules for a TV epic, providing a brilliantly cast serialized storyline, produced with a scope and scale that rivaled theatrical blockbusters.” (https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/20/media/game-of-thrones-finale-ratings/index.html). So how do these numbers prove that media is changing?
In short, the numbers don’t lie. It seems as if less and less people are tuning into a television show at a specified time. 19.3 million views for Game of Thrones finale is a far cry from number 10 on mentalfloss’ top 10 list. But when we factor in delayed viewing and streaming platforms (not to mention illegal ways to source media) we get closer to the top of the list. ‘TV Everywhere’ is now beginning to take root beyond millennial viewership. This term, TV Everywhere, is defined by IPSOS MediaCT TV Dailies as, “Television providers and networks allowing subscribers to access their content on digital platforms such as tablets, computers or connected TV devices like Roku or Chromecast.” The information found in a study by IPSOS MediaCT TV Dailies is quite interesting. In the study, viewers were asked what stations and services they had watched in the past week and for how many hours. For those that had watched a service for five or more hours, “Netflix takes the top spot with YouTube coming in third place. These services are also the most frequent picks for the three coolest networks, with Netflix commanding a large lead and YouTube surprisingly just edging past HBO.” “This illustrates perfectly how much the TV world has changed in the past few years. Traditional networks are bested by digital competition in terms of number of hours watched and the coolness factor, something that would have been unthinkable five or six years ago when Netflix, for example, was known primarily for mailing DVDs. This really does show the degree to which the TV world can change.” (https://www.ipsos.com/en-us/knowledge/media-brand-communication/changing-landscape-tv)
So there you have it, proof that the media landscape is changing. Only time will tell whether or not there will be another huge television hit that will have people far and wide ranting and raving. One thing is certain, there are a plethora of options available to viewers to find exactly what they are looking for. Perhaps this factor alone will cause hype to dissipate. Instant gratification requirements among the population are causing television outlets to scramble and put out a massive amount of series. In doing so, it become more difficult for one hit to stand out above the rest. Despite all of this, HBO was able to do just that. Here’s to hoping it can do it again with the Game of Thrones spinoff that we have heard whispers about.