July 14, 2020

The new HBO battle six months after ‘Game of Thrones’ | TV

"How will HBO survive?" The headlines cried before April 14, 2019. That day ended Game of Thrones and some ran to presume the prestigious cable channel. The data gave reasons to do so. The iron throne melted with the last rales of the most successful series in the history of the chain, a global phenomenon that stood out in a diversified audiovisual sector. But it was not the first battle of HBO, which they already buried with the closure of The Sopranos, The wire and Sex in New York. Six months later, HBO lives a moment of change, but it still has battles to fight, both in fiction (as weeks later it showed unexpected success of Chernobyl), as in the company.

Game of Thrones It premiered in 2011 in a very different television industry. In eight years the way of broadcasting and watching television has changed. The global platforms of streaming They have put themselves at the level of traditional brands in production, and TV is no longer just that device in a room, with fixed schedules and weekly broadcasts. HBO itself has become, in some countries, another digital platform. It is in his home country, however, where his organization lives the deepest change: months before Westeros was put in the hands of a new king, the giant of AT&T telecommunications absorbed its parent company, Time Warner, in one of the greatest business movements in history.

Home Box Office, which was born in 1965 as an urban payment channel, became a subsidiary in an international conglomerate that includes the giant Warner, the DC publishing house, CNN news and TNT entertainment. But it won't be another one. Thanks to the recognition of the brand, HBO has become a fundamental piece, even giving its name to the platform called to compete with Netflix and Disney +. HBO Max is the service that will mix, in its 10,000 hours of content, the prestigious offers of the channel with classics such as Friends, The Big Bang Theory and The west wing of the White House or superhero stories like Supergirl and The flash, something that the European platform was already doing (in October the most watched series of HBO Spain was Batwoman). The launch is so relevant that for the presentation of the product even the iconic cistern in the Warner studio changed its gigantic W by the acronym HBO.

But that has not translated into a lower production of the series with the HBO brand on which he built his prestige. Unlike. Thanks to its agreement with the British Sky, which remains in the new era, it became an unexpected global success Chernobyl. In the US, the miniseries on the 1986 nuclear accident reached eight million spectators, at the level of the most publicized True detective. Despite staying away from the 19 million Game of Thrones, his historical account had a great behavior on his video platforms on demand, improving weekly. The strategy chosen against the Netflix marathon caused the conversation to swell.

Co-productions with the British BBC have borne fruit this year as Dark matter (most seen in HBO Spain in November), based on the famous collection of fantastic books, and the dystopian Years and Years, adored by critics. The subsidiary in Europe, in turn, chains premieres in Romania (Hackerville), Sweden (Gösta), Norway (Beforeigners), Poland (Wataha) and now Spain, where the romantic Foodie love, by Isabel Coixet, is the first local fiction. They will follow Homeland, By H or by B and 30 coins, by Alex de la Iglesia. At the moment, however, the way in which the European branch will be integrated with HBO Max, which has confirmed that it will reach countries like Spain, is still a mystery.

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Meanwhile, HBO managed to sneak into the weekly series conversation the teenage drama Euphoria for his groundbreaking look at the Z generation, and black comedy Succession, whose wealthy family is called to be heiress at the fantastic epic awards, after his first Emmy nomination for best drama. At the moment she is one of her heirs in the conversation on the Internet, where now triumphs Watchmen, sequel to the laureate comic by Alan Moore, from the sister publishing house DC, with which the channel dares with the genre of superheroes from an adult and political perspective. Damon Lindelof, responsible for Lost and The Leftovers, He has created a drama about racism and appropriation of cultural icons from the tapestry of the deities of mass cultural conversation. But despite their influence on the network, audiences do not just shine. The opposite happens with Barry, brilliant comedy about a hitman who wants to be an actor who, despite the fact that nobody seems to notice her, has notable audiences of four million in his US broadcast.

Although not everything is prestige. The second installment of Big little lies It was received with less critical enthusiasm and labeled as unnecessary, but viewers said otherwise. The end of the season exceeded three million on its first day, a historical record. The series with Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman has finished with 10 million viewers on average by adding the non-linear broadcast, a growth of 40%. These data place it as one of the most successful, only after blockbusters such as Game of Thrones and Westworld, which returns in 2020 with a third season refurbished. The public wanted to see Monterey's mothers facing each other against the evil Meryl Streep, ready to be awarded at the time of awards. The third season has only hinted at, but for now Nicole Kidman already has another project on HBO as a producer and protagonist and with screenwriter David E. Kelley: the miniseries The Undoing, next to Hugh Grant.

The production rate does not slow down. In January 2020 it will arrive The new dad, with John Malkovich in front of Jude Law; The visitorby Stephen King; Larry David's return to the longest running series in channel history, and Avenue 5, space comedy created by Armando Ianucci, responsible for Veep. For the premiere of your online platform you will have prepared new J.J. Abrams (Lovecraft country), David Simon (The Plot against America, about the novel by Philip Roth), Phoebe Waller-Bridge (Run) and the creator of Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes (The Gilded Ages, in the New York of 1800), as well as a relaunch of the lawyer Perry Mason starring Matthew Rhys (The Americans).

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All this received a green light, however, from the team that was before the arrival of WarnerMedia asking to approach Netflix, before Richard Plepler left after 28 years his position as head of the cable chain that transformed and negotiated to move to Apple. Whatever this new chapter, the most anticipated will be the return to Westeros in Dragon housefirst spin-off from Game of Thrones, focused on the history of the Targaryen. In November in Spain it was still the fourth most watched series of the platform. HBO could not afford to lose its most successful brand, although its greatest successes always came from the unexpected. A new day with themes from the past ..

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