Report: ‘Game Of Thrones’ Ending Could Prompt Subscribers To Cancel HBO Now

A new survey conducted by Mintel shows HBO Now subscribers are more likely cancel their service if a specific program ended compared to all other OTTs—20 percent compared to 10 percent, respectively. This could spell bad news in light of HBO’s Game of Thrones concluding soon.

In an interview with Buddy Lo, Mintel’s senior technology and consumer electronics analyst, he tells us that the problem could come down to a combination of price and number of OTTs subscribed per household.

“It isn’t until the consumers get that fourth subscription service that we really see a spike in HBO Now participation. That’s why we think that HBO Now could be potentially vulnerable.”


Can you explain an overview of the research?

The consumer data that we published in the press release is based on 2000 US consumers. The researchers fielded the survey last month [in] April 2019. The [full] report is going to publish next month and it is about digital video.

We were able to isolate HBO Now subscribers [based on questioning] and after that we also used a series of behavioral statements, like “I would cancel a service if a specific show was canceled or specific show or program was canceled or ended.” We found that consumers who use HBO Now are almost twice as likely to agree with that statement than all of the general streaming OTT streaming service users.

We’ve seen viewers slowly over the past two years add one or two more OTT services. Does the data demonstrate that consumers have hit a wall?

We also asked consumers about the optimal price point that they would pay for their ideal streaming service. We asked [them to] imagine [their] ideal streaming service with all of the shows, movies, sport and other entertainment that [they would] want. Then we asked a series of four questions, like, to imagine their ideal streaming service and at what price is that service so cheap that [they] would question the quality; at what price do [they] think it’s a good deal. We performed a price sensitivity analysis and we found that the optimal price point is 20 dollars, so it’s pretty low.

When we think about how much HBO costs, which is $14.99, Netflix can range from I believe $8.99 upwards to $13.99, depending on the tier that you get. Hulu is a bit more affordable at $5.99.

Our data shows that consumers only have a limited type of budget and that three-quarters of streamers use two [OTTs] or more. We see that for HBO [subscribers], participation doesn’t really kick in until consumers have four or more subscriptions services. [The data] tells us that consumers’ first option is usually Netflix and the second or third option is Amazon or Hulu.

But, it isn’t until the consumers get the fourth subscription service that we really see a spike in HBO Now participation. That’s why we think that HBO Now could be potentially vulnerable. I want to specify that this is about streaming services only, it’s not necessarily related to cable or satellite subscriptions because those can tend to be stickier. They can have cancellation fees so consumer behavior is a little less fluid within those segments.

Is chord cutting affecting this loss at all? 

I think, if anything, cord-cutting would shift more consumers to using the HBO Now platform rather than bundling everything with a cable or satellite provider. Cord-cutting gives consumers more flexibility in terms of how they choose their entertainment package. If [a consumer] wanted to go with Netflix all [they] need when [they] cut the cord is an internet connection. From there [they] can choose whether or not I want Hulu, Amazon, HBO Now, Starz, YouTube TV, etc…

What OTTs could stand to capitalize?

I think a big one would definitely be the upcoming services like Disney+ or Apple TV+. They might be able to take advantage of this void in entertainment before HBO can ramp up their spin-offs and create buzz around other content. It’s a good opportunity for any of the smaller brands to come in at a lower price point and exciting new content.

YouTube’s Newfronts Presentation Reveals Plans To Boost TV Viewership, Measurement

YouTube is updating its algorithm to favor content viewed on TV screens, adding Nielsen tools for advertisers and making YouTube Originals free with ads, the company announced at its Newfront event on Thursday.

All Eyes On TV

YouTube said that over 250 million hours of its videos are viewed on television screens every day. To keep this trend going, YouTube will update its proprietary algorithm (P-score) to prioritize higher production value content and videos that are frequently watched on the TV screen. Videos will be selected from the top five percent of popular channels on YouTube based on user engagement and a “higher bar for brand suitability.”

YouTube TV, the live TV subscription service launched two years ago, is now available across the US and will be offered as a standalone lineup on Google Preferred this Upfront season. YouTube TV already features over 70 broadcast and cable partners, the company said.

“As I meet with many of you, I hear two questions loud and clear,” said Allan Thygesen, president of Google Americas during the presentation. “You want us to prove first, YouTube really can drive reach as fast as TV. And second, that YouTube drives results.”

Nielsen Catalina Solutions will be available for Google Preferred campaigns before the end of the year, measuring lift in offline sales for US consumer packaged goods (CPG) brands. In addition, the tool will provide “deeper” performance insights across audiences, creative and other criteria.

A recent study by Google and MediaScience found that YouTube’s Google Preferred ads on TV screens drove an average lift of 112 percent in Ad Recall and 53 percent Purchase Intent.

On average, over 50% of the target audience reached by YouTube was incremental to TV, according to Nielsen. Television required on average five-times the frequency of YouTube to hit reach goals.

Ad-Supported Originals

YouTube announced that all of its forthcoming original series and specials will become available worldwide as a free, ad-supported service. By breaking the paywall, YouTube gives advertisers more opportunities to work with Hollywood talent and YouTube content creators.

Last year’s Originals slate earned over 2.5 billion views across 50 shows, YouTube told the audience. Cobra Kai received 11 award nominations including an Emmy and the show’s season two premiere reached 20 million views in six days.

Google may be the world’s largest seller of advertising, but it’s not invincible. Ad sales grew at the slowest pace since 2015, according to Alphabet Inc.’s Q1 2019 earnings report. The company did not offer investors any explanation for the slowdown, leaving investors baffled and shares dropping.

Brands Are Winning Over Younger Audiences At Coachella With Memorable Moments

With one Coachella weekend down and one to go, AList looks at how the companies celebrated the opening of this year’s festival with brand activations both inside the festival grounds and out. This year proved to be less about being instagrammable and more about creating emotional ‘moments’ full of music and experiences.

Brands like Heineken have had a symbiotic relationship with the music festival for almost 20 years. The beer brand has been an official sponsor for 18 years and, for their own part, have witnessed changes to the festival over the course of their tenure. In recent years, Heineken has emphasized diversity and inclusion at their Heineken House.

“There are no doors on the [Heineken] House. It’s for everybody, it’s completely open, it’s something that can be experienced by people who are inside, outside; something that is just for everybody,” Christine Karimi, Heineken’s manager of partnerships and consumer experience, told AList.

This year, Heineken is also changing its approach to influencer marketing around the activation.

“We are using our influencer dollars more on the [music] talent that comes into the house,” Karimi said. “We are asking them to post [on social media] because they are having a moment here and they are sharing out to their followers. And that, to us, is the most authentic thing because it’s the talent, the music. They are here, and they are like, “Come check [us] out!” versus just a person holding a product.”

An economy of brand-created mini-festivals has popped up in over the years, providing drinks, food, music, merch and experiences to those outside the festival grounds. Many people head to the desert just to attend these satellite events.

Lucky Brand, for example, partnered with The Rolling Stone for its annual Desert Jam at the Arriv Hotel in Palm Springs.

“Our first-time that we showed up at Coachella, a lot of articles out there were saying that ‘Lucky was back.’ So it’s just a natural fit for us,” said Timothy Mack, Lucky Brand’s SVP of strategic brand marketing and ecommerce.

Mack said that one of the strategic initiatives of the denim brand is to stay relevant to millenials. The company is achieving that with offering sweepstakes prior to the event, cool merchandise and most importantly, memorable moments at the mini-fest (RSVP to which was closed after 48 hours since the announcement), where the guests can see free music and relax. In the past, Harry Hudson and Charlie XCX performed at Desert Jam, and this year, Lucky Brand brought in X Ambassadors.

“We built KPIs around how we are going to amplify [our marketing efforts], how we are going to get as many people to hear about this, as possible. In order for this to be a successful event, we need to reach a certain impression, pre-events and post-events,” Mack said.

Another way brands are showing their personality and connecting with their consumer is the “moment in need.” Peet’s coffee is promoting their Cold Brew at the campground of the festival, using experiences that provide both chances for creating memories with friends and soothing comfort inside Peet’s Coffee Bus and with Cold Brew.

“[The festival-goers] have been sleeping outside, and at night it’s cooler, but it’s still hot. They wake up because they are overheating, tired, maybe a little hung-over, and [Peet’s Cold Brew] gets [them] going. This is good because it’s a moment in need, but for us, this also means that they are trying it and getting into it. It’s a good combination,” said Peet’s Coffee spokesperson, Gretchen Koch.

For those who still crave the exclusive, luxurious moments to cherish after their time at Coachella, there is the American Express Platinum House. Accessible only to card members and their guests, the house offers unique art pieces, hangouts by the pool, lounge-y tunes, hors d’oeuvres and artisan cocktails.

The event-goers told AList that at Platinum House they “found a perfect place to relax, mingle with cool people and drink a ‘Watermelon Crush.'”

Disney+ Finds Leverage In Price, Exclusivity

After months of speculation, The Walt Disney Company revealed details of its SVOD service to investors on Thursday. Completely ad-free, Disney+ will focus on low subscription fees, bundles and exclusive content.

Disney’s new SVOD platform will launch on November 12, the media giant revealed, with a price point of $6.99 per month. Unlike Hulu, 60 percent which Disney acquired along with 21st Century Fox, Disney+ will be ad-free and obtain all revenue from subscriptions. The service will be available exclusively in the US at launch, but Disney plans to roll out the new service globally over the next two years.

The service will be available on mobile and connected devices, with an “unprecedented amount” of content available to download for offline viewing. Disney+ will adjust the content’s resolution based on available bandwidth and support up to 4K HDR video playback.

When Kevin Mayer, Disney’s chairman of direct-to-consumer and international, announced the service’s price point, there were “gasps in the room,” according to Variety reporter Cynthia Littleton.

The low price point makes Disney+ less than half of the cost of a premium Netflix subscription, which was recently bumped to $16 per month.

Mayer told the audience that the company is “actively evaluating international rollout strategies” for Hulu, as well as bundling options with Disney+ and ESPN+.

The Mouse House isn’t known for its lack of ambition. Case in point, Disney told investors that it expects the service to grow to between 60 million and 90 million subscribers globally by fiscal 2024.

A working prototype of the service was shown with a similar layout to Netflix, displaying categories like “Recommended for You” and “Continue Watching.” Dedicated pages will be available for Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. Subscribers will have the ability to create custom profiles linked to a recommendation engine.

“We’re extremely excited about our growing portfolio of direct-to-consumer offerings. As we demonstrated today, with Disney+ we will deliver extraordinary entertainment in innovative ways to audiences around the world,” said Mayer. “We’ll continue to enhance the user experience with a constant pipeline of high-quality programming, making the service even more appealing to consumers.”

In a 2017 study, Magid found that original content drove OTT subscription behavior in the US. In addition to its existing library of movies and shows, Disney+ will launch with 25 original series and 10 original films, documentaries and specials. Disney+ will also become the exclusive streaming home of The Simpsons.

“The price point [for Disney+] seems well-suited, realistic and appealing,” Debby Ruth, Magid’s vice president of global media and entertainment told AList following Disney’s announcement. “As technology evolves, the proliferation of SVOD services and any direct-to-consumer (DTC) offering is going to be essential for content providers.”

Disney shares jumped 11.5 percent on Friday following the announcement, while Netflix stock fell over three percent, MarketWatch reported.

Guide To Coachella 2019 Brand Activations

While influencers from all around the world are polishing their smartphone cameras in anticipation to document their experiences and choosing outfits to dance the desert nights away, marketers and brands get busy organizing activations to impress the opinion shapers who will ensure thousands of likes for their products on social media.

Here are the branded activations and experiences happening in the desert that we think you should know about.


YSL Gas Station Beauty Pop-Up

To promote their new line of lipsticks, Yves Saint Laurent will build its first pop-up shop, a gas station, which will allow the festival-goers to peruse cosmetic products instead of snacks and car air fresheners.

The YSL pop-up will feature a tour bus, giant lipstick sign, heart-shaped balloons, convertible cars and neon pink gas pumps. Plus, a makeup vending machine, virtual makeup stations and instant beauty experts’ tips.

When: April 12-14

Where: Along Route 111, near Cathedral City


Lucky Brand’s Desert Jam

Lucky Brand comes back to Coachella this year with a pool party, presented by Rolling Stone Live, in the center of Palm Springs. The guests can expect performances by X Ambassadors, Jax Jones, Drax Project and Palm Springsteen. There will be free gear and open bar, as well as shoulder-rubbing with celebrities and Lucky Brand ambassadors.

When: April 13, 12:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.

Where: Arrive Hotel, 1551 N Palm Canyon Drive, Palm Springs, CA 92262.


NYX Professional Makeup Glitter Trip

NYX “Glitter Goals” activation invites all the Coachella “kids” to the ultimate glitter playground: beauty bar and touch-up area fully equipped with glitter makeup, a glitter fountain, a massive lip and tongue slide.

Additionally, makeup artist, Nam Vo, partnered with the brand to create makeup tutorials that will be available onsite.

When: April 12-14 and April 19-21 

Where: Empire Polo Club 81-800 Avenue 51, Indio, CA 92201


Marriott Bonvoy’s Glamping

Marriott Bonvoy brings total glamping experiences to Coachella 2019. This year, Marriott Bonvoy members can bid for a fully-furnished W Yurt, Aloft Hotels Safari Tent, which includes all of the amenities and decor of a Aloft hotel room, concierge service, air conditioning and golf cart services. And most impresively, the brand-new Marriott Bonvoy Bungalow with room for four with private butler service, an on-demand glam squad and masseuse.

When: April 18-22

Where: Empire Polo Club 81-800 Avenue 51, Indio, CA 92201


Newly Designed Heineken House At Coachella

This year’s Heineken house will not only feature musical talent but also a beer garden to give consumers a chance to cool down with Heineken or Heineken 0.0 while catching the music in and outside of Heineken House. Cheers.

When: April 18-22

Where: Empire Polo Club 81-800 Avenue 51, Indio, CA 92201


AmEx Card Member Lounge And Platinum House

The Amex Card Member Lounge comes back to the festival to provide much-needed comfort and rest space with special services, such as nail touch-ups with celebrity nail artist, Britney Tokyo, and sneaker cleaning service by Jason Mark.

When: April 18-22

Where: Empire Polo Club 81-800 Avenue 51, Indio, CA 92201

AmEx Platinum House also returns to Coachella this year. It will be available to Platinum Card Members exclusively and will offer such luxurious experiences as custom signature cocktails by mixologist Jim Meehan, bites from chef Michael Solomonov, as well as unique Instagram, Spa and beauty experiences from Amex partners.

When: April 13-14, 11 a.m.–5 p.m.

Where: Avalon Palm Springs, 415 S Belardo Rd, Palm Springs, CA 92262


Peet’s Coffee Recharge And Refresh Zones

There probably can’t be Coachella without cold java and Peet’s Cold Brew will again provide coffee for the guests across the Festival and Camping Center.

The festival-goers can expect the return of Interactive Vintage Bus and Peet’s Cold Brew Trike Happy Hour. But one of the brand new experiences this year is a Tap Room, which will deliver a unique draft experience associated with beer with Peet’s Baridi Blend Cold Brew and Nitro Cold Brew near the Gobi Stage.

When: April 18-22

Where: Empire Polo Club 81-800 Avenue 51, Indio, CA 92201Peet’s Coffee


McDonald’s And Pac Sun Pool Party

Free swag, open bar, interactive photo-booths, exclusive festival gear from PacSun and a pop-up McDonald’s restaurant.

When:  April 13, 2:00 p.m.–6:00 p.m.

Where: The Bootsy Bellows Estate, Rancho Mirage


Cash App Dome

The Coachella event hosted by Cash App this year is super-secretive, but we do know there will be surprise live performances, celebrity appearances and games.

When: April 13, 11:00 p.m.

Where: Undisclosed location in Indio, CA


Adidas’ ‘You Had To Be There”

Adidas goes old-school, opening the doors to their party where nobody has their phones out and everyone is living in the moment.

When: April 13, 1:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

Where: Undisclosed location in Indio, CA


Moschino ‘The Sims’

A private party for Jeremy Scott and his Hollywood friends promises to be just as fun and fabulous as the brand’s trademark design. Last year’s attendees included Cardi B, Gigi Hadid, Katy Perry and Paris Jackson, and considering Moschino’s recent announcement about a collaboration with Madonna, it is quite possible that she will be among the guests this year.

When: April 13th, 10:00 p.m.

Where: Undisclosed location in Indio. 


T-Mobile Pandora Indio Invasion

T-Mobile also invites the festival-goers to splash in a pool at one of the nicest estates in the Coachella Valley. Free gear from sponsors and a DJ set by Chromeo guaranteed.

When:  April 13, 2019. 1:00 p.m.–4:00 p.m.

Where: Private Estate in Cathedral City (near Palm Springs).


Revolve Festival

REVOLVE partners with Top Dawg Ent. to bring the world-renowned artists like SZA, ScHoolboy Q, Jay Rock, Reason and Zacari with a special performance by 2 Chainz. REVOLVE and TDE are also offering exclusive REVOLVE x TDE merchandise, which will become available on revolve.com, starting April 15.

When and Where: 

  • Revolve Hotel: Thursday, April 11, V Palm Springs Hotel
  • TAO x REVOLVE Desert Nights: Friday, April 12 12 a.m., Undisclosed location in Indio, CA
  • #REVOLVEfestival: Saturday, April 13 – Sunday, April 14 1:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. daily. Private estate in La Quinta
  • Superdown Night Party: Saturday, April 13 12:00 a.m, Undisclosed location in Indio, CA

Prism Boutique’s Desert House

Prism Boutique is bringing their shop to Coachella along with brand partners Matisse Footwear, L*Space, Novella Royalle, Daydreamer, Jurate Brown and Le Specs. The activation will include free drinks, light bites, music and a photo booth backdrop. Also, complimentary mini-makeovers and gifts from Pixi Beauty and festival hair styling with Salt Strands from 12-4 p.m. on select days.

When: April 11th – 13th, 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

Where: Prism Boutique Desert House, 421 South Cahuilla Road Palm Springs, CA


Dolls Kill Quickie Mart

To promote their new limited “Quickie Mart” collection, fashion brand Dolls Kill occupies an abandoned gas station off Highway 111 to give it a loud make-over and turn into “Quickie Mart,” where the shoppers will be able to pick-up last-minute festival outfits.

When: April 11-21, 10 a.m.–10 p.m.

Where: 83186 Highway 111 Indio, CA 92201


BMW ‘Road To Coachella’ Pop-Up

BMW partners with rapper Khalid to celebrate the BMW ‘i’ and invites the festival-goers to their dealership in Palm Springs. There will be Instagram experiences inspired by Khalid’s new album, food trucks, merch, a claw machine and of course, custom cars.

When: Apr 11-14, 12:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

Where: BMW Of Palm Springs, 3737 E Palm Canyon Dr, Palm Springs, CA 92264

‘Game Of Thrones’ Brand Partnerships Align Household Names #ForTheThrone

HBO’s #ForTheThrone campaign heralded Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season with enough brand partnerships to fill an entire kingdom.

For seven seasons, Game of Thrones fans watched characters put their reputations and lives on the line for the good of their kingdoms. HBO turned that theme into a question for audiences—how far would you go for the throne? Brands, as it turned out, would go pretty far.


Secret Menu For Valyrian Speakers

The road to The Throne is covered in lies and secrets, but Shake Shack fans don’t have to kill anyone to access a secret menu. Visitors to the Madison Square Park Shake Shack in NYC can order two secret items—a spicy Dracarys Burger or a Dragon Glass shake. The only catch is that you have to order in Valyrian, a fictional language spoken by the dragon-loving race from Game of Thrones.

The secret menu will be available for a limited time—April 21 for the burger and May 21 for the shake, while supplies last. If your Valyrian is a bit rusty, don’t worry, as Shake Shack released a pronunciation guide.


Winter Is Coming To “West-Oreos”

Oreo released a limited edition pack of Game of Thrones-themed cookies, embossed to represent the four Great Houses still in the running, as well as the dreaded White Walkers.

The iconic Game of Thrones opening sequence was recreated with Oreo cookies and was used to unveil the partnership.


Makeup Fit For A Queen

Urban Decay is launching a collection of licensed beauty products inspired by Game of Thrones including an eyeshadow set with a pop-up iron throne. The color palettes feature names like “Lannister Red,” “Winter is Here” and “White Walker.” A highlight palette called “Queen of Dragons” has been embossed with the shape of dragon eggs.

Other items in the collection include themed lip/cheek stain, eyeliner, lipstick and make-up brushes made to look like Jon Snow’s Longclaw sword and Arya Stark’s Needle sword.


A Can With No Name

Inspired by Arya Stark training with a guild of assassins called the Faceless Men of Braavos, Mountain Dew sacrificed its own label “for the Throne.”

On the show, the Faceless Men are required to become “no one,” relinquishing their former identities. Mountain Dew’s campaign, “The Can With No Name,” features a blank, white can.

When chilled, the can reveals Arya’s kill list, including those who have already been crossed off—gearing fans up for who she will target in season eight.

Fans could only get a can by entering a Twitter giveaway or by finding a “Master of Coin” in Los Angeles or NYC. Finding one of these characters and whispering the password (found on Mountain Dew’s social channels) granted a coin, which could be inserted into a Game of Thrones vending machine to dispense a “nameless” can.

Mountain Dew’s sponsored athletes appeared in a separate video, singing along to the Game of Thrones with the word “Do” i.e. “Dew.”


Bleed For The Throne

HBO partnered with the American Red Cross to host an experiential cause marketing campaign at SXSW. Guests were invited into a large, decorated space, where they experienced recreations of the key moments from the show. The activation used audio, visual and physical interaction to put guests into the POV of characters Arya Stark, Cersei Lannister, Jon Snow and Tyrion Lannister as they endured betrayal, humiliation and life and death challenges.

Inside, guests could offer their blood literally, as a donation to the American Red Cross. Outside the enclosed area, guests could explore an interactive war camp filled with over 80 costumed performers and 100 pages of scripted characters. Snapchat filters encouraged social sharing with augmented reality banners.


Time To Drink And Know Things

Bob Cabral Wine created official special Game of Thrones-inspired wines to commemorate the show’s final season. Thirsty fans can order the special bottles in a red wine blend or Chardonnay. Each comes with an elaborately decorated label and an optional free Game of Thrones corkscrew.

“A fan of Game of Thrones, Bob was challenged to craft wines to match the strength the characters and the terrain of their kingdoms,” says the Bob Cabral website. “Bob’s meticulousness and patience have yielded a wine that [embodies] the spirit of the HBO series.”

Diageo released a number of Game of Thrones spirits ahead of the final season. Johnnie Walker launched a “White Walker” run of Scotch whisky featuring a label that glows when put in the freezer—a nod to the glowing white walker eyes.

Single malts, each based on a Great House of Westeros, were also released by Diageo brands Lagavulin, Dalwhinnie and the Cardhu Distillery.

Ommegang Brewery launched a series of limited-edition beers, each inspired by a character on Game of Thrones—Queen of the Seven Kingdoms, Mother of Dragons, Hand of the Queen and the latest, King of the North.

During the Super Bowl, an ad for Bud Light took a turn for the foreboding when one of the jousting contestants turns out to be The Mountain.


A Tale Of Fire And Fancy Water

Visitors to Las Vegas this week may be surprised to find the Bellagio Fountains have been set on fire. A limited-run event in partnership with MGM Resorts uses projection, pyrotechnics and nearly 800 fountains to create Game of Thrones imagery, all set to a custom score by composer Ramin Djawadi.

The show runs nightly through April 13, creating images like an undead dragon, The Wall crashing down, falling snow and more.


White Walkers In AR

HBO and Magic Leap created an augmented reality encounter with a White Walker inside select AT&T flagship stores.

“The Dead Must Die: A Magic Leap Encounter” will place users in a confrontation with wights (the undead) and a standoff with a White Walker. The encounter is available through June 10 at select locations in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Dallas.


Baseball Game Of Thrones

Major League Baseball (MLB) teamed up with HBO to host Game of Thrones nights during the 2019 season. Visitors will receive a limited-edition tee-shirt and sit in specially-branded Game of Thrones sections.

Limited-edition bobbleheads have also gone on sale, offering mash-ups of MLB teams and Game of Thrones imagery. Each team has three bobbleheads—the team mascot sitting on the Iron Throne, an ice dragon bearing the team’s logo and the Night King holding a team’s baseball bat.

The continuing partnership was revealed through a trailer that likens pro ball players’ struggles with that of characters on the hit show, using the “chaos is a ladder” quote from Petyr “Littlefinger” Baelish. The MLB video intercuts between show’s wall and the outfield wall on a baseball field.


Slaying In Style

Fashion house John Varvatos launched a Game of Thrones capsule collection that includes 11 pieces of hand-dyed leather outerwear, cross-over Henley,  pants, messenger bag and three shirts—House Lannister, House Stark and the Three-Eyed Raven.

This collaboration is the only luxury fashion collaboration for Game of Thrones’ final season and marks the first time John Varvatos has partnered with a TV series.

John Varvatos invited fans to take their best Game of Thrones-esque selfie inside the designer’s boutiques for a chance to win a trip to Belfast, Ireland.

Handbag and accessory company Danielle Nicole released an 18-piece collection of accessories inspired by the show’s costumes and great warring houses. Backpacks, crossbody bags, pouches, wristlets and coin purses were created with materials like faux fur and fringe that display famous phrases like “Winter is Coming” and “Fire and Blood.”


You Can’t Run From Winter

Adidas Running partnered to create six limited-edition Ultraboost shoes inspired by warring factions on the show. Each shoe features “subtle references” to the kingdom it represents including a sigil on the tongue and motto on the heel tag.

The unisex designs include White Walker, House Stark, Night’s Watch, Lannister and two styles of Targaryen, the latter of which have already sold out.


The Iron Throne, To Go

For some fans, watching the action and betrayal isn’t enough, so HBO teamed up with different game studios to bring Westeros to them.

Game of Thrones: Conquest is a free-to-play MMO strategy game from Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment that was developed by Turbine, Inc. Players become a lord or lady in Westeros who must develop their own strategy for conquering the Seven Kingdoms and claiming the Iron Throne. After creating their own house and sigil, players can battle over 120 iconic seats of power from the franchise.

In August, Devolver Digital released a version of Reigns based on Game of Thrones. Like its original game based on conquest, the new version features characters from HBO’s hit show like Jon Snow, Cersei Lannister and Daenerys Targaryen.


Have a Seat, Your Majesty

Sky UK partnered with Volvo to bring to the good people “7 Kingdoms Tour.”

The activation will be held in seven cities in the UK and Ireland and the event-goers will have the chance to take Insta-worthy pictures and videos in the majestic Game Of Thrones throne and leave with a dragon egg in hand.

There will also be on-air activations on “Thronecast–” the GoT talk show after the tour.


Night’s Watchmen Against The British Army

In this activation by Sky Atlantic to celebrate the final season of the show, the Night’s Watchmen deliver a dramatic sword performance, while the British Army’s Coldstream Guards perform a rendition of the Game of Thrones theme in London.


Wielding The Needle 

A division of pan-European telecommunications, Now TV, is offering free tattoos to all the fans in a studio in Soho, London on April 16th and 17th.

The “skin engravings” will be performed by artist Lauren Winzer and some of the designs include the iconic throne, lion, wolf, dragon and phrases, “Winter Is Coming,” “At The Game Of Thrones You Win Or You Die” and “I Am The Sword In The Darkness.”

Spotify Ad Studio Launches New Conversion Metrics For Artists, Labels

Spotify Ad Studio unveiled a new set of streaming conversion metrics that reveal how listeners responded after listening to an ad. The addition was made in response to labels and artist teams who requested more insights into how a campaign impacted consumers.

New metrics available inside Spotify Ad Studio include how many listeners listened to the artist after hearing the ad, whether the ad performed better with existing listeners or new ones, songs saved to playlists and more.

Labels and artists can already see who is listening to their music through Spotify for Artists, but the additional metrics in Spotify Ad Studio allow more insight into campaigns. Following an activation, users can see how audiences reacted.

“You’ll learn how audiences engaged with your ad, and you can use that information to inform your future promotional strategies,” said Spotify in a blog post.

“Given their importance to artist teams, we intend to offer these types of conversion metrics for future advertising products.”

Spotify says that “hundreds” of artist teams, labels and music marketers have used Spotify Ad Studio as part of their promotional plans since its launch in 2017. The allure is discoverability, the company says, as Spotify users are already listening and in the mood to discover new music.

To prove this point, Spotify pointed to a campaign by music marketing agency Wavo ran for Rich the Kid and Interscope. An ad featured a sample of Rich the Kid’s new song, along with an introduction from the artist. Of those who heard the ad, 38 percent went on to listen to his music. Almost 20 percent of those listeners streamed Rich the Kid music for the first time that month.

“With Spotify’s new advertising capabilities, we’re getting insight into not just how our campaign is resulting in streams, but deeper actions for an artist like how those listeners are turning into fans and adding a song to their playlist or hearting a song,” said Conor Clarke, CEO and co-founder of Wavo alongside Spotify’s statistics. “Those are the holy grail of metrics for an artist to know.”

Spotify had over 200 million monthly active users as of February 2019. Premium subscribers reached 96 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, an increase of 36 percent year over year (YoY). The company reported that both Audio and Video format ads grew more than 40 percent in the fourth quarter and audio ads remain the largest contributor to total revenue.

The company made changes to its data policies in the second quarter of 2018 that were designed to improve performance measurement. These metrics, Spotify told investors, continued to drive revenue growth of 77 percent YoY in third-party measurement tools.

Apple TV+ Marketing With Celebrities, Relies On Exclusives Over Ad Revenue

Apple unveiled its new subscription entertainment platform, Apple TV+ on Monday, creating a monetized home for the brand’s original programming. The announcement focused heavily on storytelling and creators like Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard and Oprah Winfrey.

Apple TV+ launches this fall as a separate subscription service accessible from within the Apple TV app. It will house the brand’s original content and while specifics were not provided, Apple is marketing celebrities to sell the promise of quality.

The promotional video featured J.J. Abrams, Jennifer Aniston, Damien Chazelle, Sofia Coppola, Ron Howard, M. Night Shyamalan, Octavia Spencer, Steven Spielberg, Hailee Steinfeld and Reese Witherspoon, all talking about the process of storytelling.

Another video announced that Oprah Winfrey would be coming to the Apple TV+ platform, although it did not specify in what capacity. Even Sesame Street’s Big Bird made an appearance.

Unlike Netflix or Amazon, AppleTV+ will not host a catalog of licensed content in addition to originals. Instead, it was designed to attract new subscribers based on exclusivity. Apple users will still be able to access partner networks like HBO and Showtime through the standard Apple TV offering, but it will require switching over to another app.

While Hulu, Disney, VUDU and others prepare to woo advertisers next month at IAB’s Digital Newfronts, Apple TV+ will be ad-free.

This may seem like a strange move for a service launching in 100 countries, but as one marketer pointed out, Apple may not be focusing on revenue so much as perceived value.

It remains to be seen if Apple TV+ original content is inspiring enough to pay for yet another subscription. According to Deloitte, 47 percent of US consumers are becoming “fatigued” by the growing number of subscriptions and services required to watch what they want. The average US consumer subscribes to three services as it is, Deloitte found.

Unlike many of its competitors, Apple has the ability to bundle services like music, games, TV and news. Apple TV+ also has the ability to reach the brand’s existing global user base.

In a note to Wall Street investors called “Apple Poisons Netflix,” Needham analyst Laura Martin asserted that Apple has strong consumer awareness and no marketing costs.

“Netflix has an inferior competitive position to Apple over time, as we see it, in both: a) customer acquisition costs; and b) content costs,” wrote Martin “Apple has zero consumer acquisition costs since it will first target its captive 900 million global unique users, which are the wealthiest consumers in the world.”

Google’s New Stadia Platform Leverages Burgeoning Gaming Video Content Market

Google unveiled Stadia, a new video game platform, at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) on Tuesday. The cloud-based service provides instant access to games on a variety of devices with a tie-in to YouTube, Chromecast and Google Assistant, providing game publishers (and possibly advertisers) with a new way to reach the $5.2 billion gaming video content (GVC) market.

Stadia is not a console, but rather a “playground,” Google explained. Anyone with a Google account and high-speed internet connection would be able to log into the service and access a game without the need to download or update. Essentially, the games live in Chrome, allowing users to access the titles from a TV, laptop, mobile phone or tablet.

Google says that its goal is to make games available in resolutions up to 4K and 60 frames per second with HDR and surround sound. Stadia launches later this year in the US, Canada, UK and “much” of Europe.

Other details such as pricing and game titles are scheduled to be announced this summer. The announcement did not mention anything about advertising opportunities and Google did not immediately respond to requests for information.

Google is focusing its primary attention on YouTube integration, stating that over 200 million watch GVC on the platform every day. The idea is that after watching a trailer or video of someone playing a particular game, the viewer could immediately try the game for themselves. Dubbed “Project Stream,” a 2018 beta test allowed users to try the just-released Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey across devices.

A special controller is currently in development that allows a player to capture and share gameplay, access Google Assistant if they get stuck and use the platform wherever there is WiFi. It also features a built-in microphone and those who saw the controller at GDC noted that, as a nice touch, the Konami Code is printed on the back.

Titles already confirmed for the Stadia platform include Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey, an unannounced title from Q Games and Doom Eternal. The GDC demo included NBA 2K19 and Shadow of the Tomb Raider as examples of how developers could make real-time changes such as art style or how players could share a specific point in the game for others to jump in.

Google also announced the formation of a first-party studio called Stadia Games and Entertainment.

A 2019 study by SuperData found that just 23 percent of streaming service users are familiar with cloud gaming but 69 percent were familiar with online video streaming like YouTube. It is possible that Stadia could bring these demographics together.

SuperData CEO, Joost van Dreunen noted that while Google’s technology and sudden entry into the gaming market are impressive, the giant will have to offer more than convenience and novelty.

“One thing that was noticeably absent from the announcement was how Google intends to differentiate on content,” said Van Dreunen in a blog post. “Porting well-known titles and franchises is an obvious first step, and the integration with YouTube is novel, to be sure. However, to claim a meaningful share of the market, Google will have to acquire exclusive content that will draw consumers to its offering and that’s precisely the missing component currently.”