Featured case: Game of Thrones TV Series:
HBO’s Integrated Marketing Strategy

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The case

Who – the protagonist

David Benioff and DB Weiss, producers of Game of Thrones.

What?

Game of Thrones (GoT) is the hit HBO drama show that has attracted millions of viewers globally.

game of thronesA television adaptation of novelist George R.R. Martin’s bestselling epic fantasy novel series, GoT, set in the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, chronicles the violent dynastic struggles among the noble families of the kingdoms for control of the Iron Throne.

Why?

Benioff received a set of the novels from his literary agent and immediately found them engrossing, suggesting to his friend Weiss that they have the potential to be a television series.

With Benioff and Weiss winning over an initially reluctant Martin, HBO soon purchased the rights to the novel.

GoT would go on to become a phenomenon, helped in part by HBO’s digital marketing strategy around the series, interacting with millions of fans via social media.

When?

Season 1 premiered on HBO in the US on 17 April 2011, five years after Benioff first received the set of novels.

Season 8, which will be the final one, is set to air in 2019.

Where?

Season 1 was broadcast in 170 countries through HBO’s local subsidiaries or other pay TV services.

GoT has been filmed in countries including Northern Ireland, Croatia (pictured), Iceland and Morocco.

Key quote

“What I’m not going to do is have a show continue past where the creators believe they feel they’ve finished with the story.” – Michael Lombardo, HBO Programming President.

game of throneWhat next?

No other show on HBO can match GoT’s viewership ratings, so the pressure is on to find a worthy replacement. If not, subscribers might leave, leading to a drop in revenues.

 
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Game of Thrones TV Series: HBO’s Integrated Marketing Strategy
Ref 517-0206-1
Teaching note
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The authors

authorsSyeda Maseeha Qumer, Debapratim Purkayastha and Koti Vinodbabu

Syeda discusses the popularity of Game of Thrones, why it’s the perfect case subject for MBA students, and distance learning.

Easy to sell

Easy to sellSyeda said: “Game of Thrones is one of the most popular television series of recent times, enthralling the audiences’ due to its intriguing story line, shocking twists, brilliant characters, and stunning visuals.

“Simply put, the GoT series has captured the imagination of a global audience. It is HBO’s most popular TV series of all time, being telecasted in 170 countries, and has a global fan base of 33 million across social media.

“Therefore, we feel that a large section of the students can easily relate to this case, and will be enthused to read it and participate wholeheartedly in the classroom.”

The benefit of multimedia

Syeda continued: “When it comes to consuming a case like this, with vast TV and social media content involved, multimedia can enhance the learning process and better illustrate the relevance of concepts. This can be a great way to generate excitement among students and arouse interest in the subject matter.”

Making a strong MBA case

She added: “There’s a lot to unpack within the marketing strategy of GoT, which makes it an ideal case study for MBA students. The show is an excellent example of how to use a mix of online and offline marketing channels to reach a broad spectrum of audience.

“GoT is content marketing done right. From generating awareness before the launch of each season, to maintaining high levels of engagement, and, finally, cultivating consumers’ loyalty, HBO has never been short of tactics when it comes to promoting the series.

“This case can be seen as an excellent example of how to market a television series for a session on Marketing Communication, Digital Marketing or Content Marketing. Closely studying the marketing campaign of the series allows students to gain a key insight that will be useful in marketing other products and services.”

Access to information

She explained: “The huge availability of information was possibly one of the biggest advantages we had, as it influenced our choice and quality of content. Moreover, we felt that producing a case with published sources allowed for more flexibility on the content and the design of the case to focus on the learning outcomes.”

Distance learningDistance learning

Syeda concluded: “Many students have already viewed the Game of Thrones series, and also been exposed to its highly visible and engaging integrated marketing campaign, so there is already a connect there, as well as a lot of context. This is exactly what makes this case adaptable even for e-learning/distance learning.”

About the authors

 

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