Game of Thrones was a hit, no one can deny that. It got millions of people including celebrities with tight schedules hooked to their TV screens for 8 whole years. The show took a life of its own, became a popular culture. People discussed and argued about GOT like they would football or some other favorite sports.
And what’s more? the epic show birthed stars and left a lot of them a million-dollar richer. The top 5 stars of GOT: Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harrington, and Nikolaj Waldau were paid $500,000 per episode. That’s two times higher than what many other lead actors in other series are paid. For instance, Kerry Washington received $250,000 per episode from Scandal.
With such kind of expenditures—not mentioning GOT’s huge cost of production, one can’t help but wonder how much HBO made off of Game of Thrones. It’s not like HBO interrupts the streaming of GOT to advertise a product. So how exactly did they profit from the show?
Although, movie studios keep the amount of profit they make a secret, it’s possible to make estimates about their income based on some available data. Like the number of people who pay monthly subscription to watch HBO for instance. Statistics revealed that HBO witnessed an increase of about 12 million subscribers in the United States from the period GOT started airing. All together now, HBO have amassed 30-40 million subscribers.
Monthly subscription for HBO costs about $10 to $15. Calculate 30 to 40 million subscribers by $10 and that will be putting HBO’s revenue at $300 to $400 million. Don’t stop there—also consider the fact that each season of GOT runs for ten weeks, except the final season that was 6 weeks. Fans of GOT will have to pay a monthly subscription of at least, 3 months to directly stream each episode of GOT—totaling the overall income of HBO to $900 million-$1.2 billion per season.
While subscription is the major means of revenue for HBO, they also make money from selling customized GOT hoodies, T-shirts, armours, prop swords and other collectibles like king’s hand accessories—and they sell like crazy. There is also the sale of DVDs: HBO recorded groundbreaking DVD sales back in 2011s and 2012s when DVDS were in vogue. And even now, people still visit the HBO website to buy GOT DVDs. Each season goes for $60 on the website which means you will be spending $420 million to buy the complete series.
At the end of the day, HBO account increases—whether the number of people that buy is in hundreds or in millions.