HBO’s Marketing Campaign Valued at $100M+ – Deadline – Aumag

HBO’s Marketing Campaign Valued at $100M+ – Deadline – Aumag

EXCLUSIVE: For all the noise about David Zaslav’s quest to find $3 billion in cost-cutting initiatives at the newly merged Warner Bros Discovery, what remains important for the new CEO is to spend on content where those dollars pay off.

HBO

And where is it? Why, at the launch of HBO’s close to $200 million Game of Thrones spinoff series, House of the Dragon, premiering this Sunday on both the linear pay-TV channel and streaming service HBO Max. Sources inform Deadline that HBO’s biggest ever marketing campaign is valued at over $100 million. in media spend (that’s a combination of ad spot value and hard cash). By all accounts, that’s a theatrical tentpole-sized marketing budget, not some frugal Netflix-esque nudge to subscribers on the menu. And as Zaslav pointed out today in his congratulatory memo to employees (obtained by Deadline) Before House of the Dragon‘s debut, it has already paid off with the series campaign having “reached nearly 130 million people in the US alone”, while also representing a united front across a majority of brands in the Warner Bros Discovery empire to beat this new show.

Pia Barlow HBO Marketing

Pia Barlow, HBO Max EVP Originals Marketing
Getty

In speaking to deadline, Pia Barlow, EVP of HBO Originals Marketing, said the month House of the Dragon the marketing campaign was to “galvanize both new and existing fans,” that demo was men and women, 18-54.

House of the Dragon The campaign is really about creating great, broad awareness and interest throughout the summer, but also making sure we signal to both existing fans as well as new fans that this is a new Game of Thrones story is coming to HBO Max,” adds Barlow.

“It has also been exciting to see teams across the company work together with the HBO team in what has been an unprecedented cross-promotional campaign. And we’ve done all of this in just a few short months, clearly demonstrating what we can accomplish when our networks, streaming platforms, digital and social channels all work together to support one common priority,” Zaslav emphasized this AM. He outlined the conglomerate’s plan to microtarget viewers in a marketing push that has spanned social media, outdoor, digital, traditional TV spots and splashy promotions on such distribution partners as Xfinity cable (where there is a HOTD destination on their X1 and Flex video platforms) and Roku, who also produced a special episode of their content buzz show, Roku Rundown.

House of the Dragon HGTV

‘House of the Dragon’ fire-breathing banner on HGTV.
HGTV

If the House of Targaryen is rich in dragons, then Warner Bros Discovery has an embarrassment of riches when it comes to ad space, with HOTD to be pumped across such channels, per advertising stat org iSpot, like TBS (20.9%), Discovery (9.1%), TNT (7.7%), CNN (7.4%) and Food Network (6.6%). If you watched HGTV, you would catch a fire-breathing dragon appearing at the bottom of the screen during your favorite show in a banner to promote the Ryan J. Condal co-created series. iSpot also reports that 99.1% of HBO’s promo TV ad impressions since July 20 came from HOTD.

Another notable mention in the teamwork for HOTD among the Warner Bros Discovery channels was the exclusive look at the Martin series on Discovery’s debut night Shark Week Sunday, July 24. Want more cross-promotion? How about the members of TNT’s All Elite Wrestling team sitting on the new one GOT throne from HOTD at the San Diego Comic-Con experience (download).

Batman

Warner Bros

As for the future success of HBO Max, Zaslav has made it clear that it is in the catalog of series and theatrical titles from Warner Bros that will hit the market 45 days after they are in theaters. Warner Bros Discovery bean counters see zero upside by distributing movies directly to HBO Max like the former WarnerMedia regime under Jason Kilar. It’s a colossal waste of money, and their availability in theaters and homes simultaneously diminishes their patina, as well as their resonance in subsequent ancillary windows.

Not to mention there’s research out there to prove that frosh subscribers come to get a movie, and then appreciate the service. It is the weekly drop of a hot episode series such as HOTD which keeps subs locked up. Not to mention, windowed movies on HBO Max click better than day-and-date. We heard that the first weekend Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore on HBO Max after its 45 days in theaters ($95 million domestic box office) drove close to 20% of traffic to the OTT service, while in the picture’s first week it was responsible for a third of HBO Max’s traffic.

In addition, third-party streaming measurement org Samba TV reported that the first week of Batman on HBO Max (after its 45-day theatrical run) drew 4.1 million households, besting the first week of such mainstream Warner films as The Suicide Squad (3.5 million), Wonder Woman 1984 (3.2 million), The Matrix Resurrection (3.2M) and Dune (2.3M).

That HOTD The campaign started with two teaser trailers released on October 5, 2021 (17.1 million YouTube views) and May 5, 2022 (14 million YT views). But then the marketing mojo kicked into high gear heading into San Diego Comic-Con, which saw a walk-up trailer drop (July 20, 18.8M YT views), the Hall H panel featuring the cast, Condal, and an extended trailer; DracARy’s dragon egg hatching app, and The House of the Dragon: Dragon’s Den live experience; the latter drew in 4k attendees who walked through the show’s castle world decked out with actors in cosplay. All of these efforts continue to shine for HBO’s social media; SDCC is “the gift that keeps on giving,” says Barlow, yielding 102 million views and 128,000 new followers on House of the Dragon and Game of Thrones social channels.

Barlow says about HOTD’s large footprint at Comic-Con, “The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. It was right in our launch window, and because it was the first time we were going to be back in full force after a few years, we knew there would be this pent-up demand and excitement from fans, and we’ve had quite a significant presence in the past with Game of Thrones at Comic-Con. So there was almost an expectation that we also wanted to make sure we delivered for the fans.”

Social media analytics company RelishMix measured how loud the volume was HOTD, said that HBO “took a solid organic approach to engaging fans of GOT franchise social network of 44.1 million – as early as they cast in pre-production to engage them with new social channels for HOTDnow built across Facebook Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and TikTok.” Add in HBO Max’s followers, and the reach of the social media universe for the new Westeros World series is close to 313 million.

“The material has not been flooded but selectively posted with only 12 videos on Facebook with 11.1 million views and fewer on YouTube with 134.2 million views, all cross-posted on earned channels,” says RelishMix in their latest report to Deadline. “The Comic-Con announcements and live panel set off a wave of material ahead of the streaming premiere weekend.”

house of the dragon snapchat

Snapchat

Also happening this Sunday on premiere day is a new Snapchat selfie + world-facing AR lens that will run during the first season. AR developers who are members of Snap’s global Lens Network build custom Landmarker AR experiences in their local markets, which include AR renderings of HOTD dragons as they take over global landmarks. The Landmarker lenses can be unlocked via the lens carousel when Snapchatter is close to a remarkable location. The lens will be available in areas such as Australia, parts of Europe, India, the Middle East and North Africa, North America, and more. The customized Landmarker AR experiences will launch in Chennai, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, Prague and Rio de Janeiro this Sunday.

Among the promo partners for HOTD, there’s Bose, who had their sound system with them everywhere Dragon’s Den at SDCC and Duolingo, which kicked off on July 19, where fans learned High Valyrian ahead of the HOTD premiere. The app’s TikTok viral mascot appeared on HOTD Comic-Con activation where he reminded attendees to complete their lessons with life-sized push notifications and signs with dragon commands in High Valyrian.

Additionally, promo partners include a month-long pop-up experience for the series at the Natural History Museum of LA from Aug. 5 to Sept. 7. Inspired by the exhibits one could see, explore the relics and traditions of real-life regimes such as the ancient Rome or ancient Egypt, HOTD the exhibition features props, costumes and specially designed displays to highlight the history of Daenerys Targaryen’s ancestors.

It would be an understatement to say that the stakes are high here in the rollout of dragon’s house, not just from a future GOT development franchise angle, but also in relation to ratings. The last season of Game of Thrones left big shoes for House of the Dragon to fill, and that was before HBO had the power of HBO Max. GOT in his last season an average of 46 million per episode domestically, and RelishMix notes that there is chatter on social media by those who are “still not happy with the ending.” Euphoria Season 2 episodes, by comparison, which had the added benefit of HBO Max, averaged 19.5 million viewers each across all platforms.

Still, RelishMix notes social chat where there is an “excitement for the new journey back in time 200 years before GOT – from protective dragon lovers who insist that “no dragons were harmed in the making of the show” and feel they are at the heart of the narrative – to Matt Smith superfans who are on edge – to HBO fans who enjoy the quality of history programming.”

An assessment windfall for HOTD will undoubtedly be one of the early wins for Zaslav’s management style, which looks to break down the walls between all Warner Bros Discovery brands and amplify their synergies to the nth degree.

Beamed Zaslav in closing his company email today, “We are committed to building one team with one mission — the third of three strategic priorities I highlighted in our recent earnings call — and efforts to support the launch of House of the Dragon is a good indication of how strong we are and what we can do when we work together.”



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