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Pathmatics Blog

The Shows HBO Wants You to Watch in 2017, Based on Advertising

February 06 2017 by Jordan Kramer

You like HBO, right? Probably, considering the network aired two of the top five most popular shows from 2016, with Game of Thrones at number one and Westworld landing at number four after just a few months. 

Even if you don’t watch HBO, you’ve probably heard of them. From December to mid-January alone, HBO spent more than $4.7 million on digital advertising, with most of that spend going to popular sites like YouTube and IMDB.com, according to Pathmatics data. So the network is hard to avoid, but they show clear preferences as to which shows they think will be winners.

Let’s take a look at what the network wants us to care about in 2017, based on their digital advertising in December 2016 through mid-January 2017.

The Major Push for The Young Pope

HBO’s 10-episode series The Young Pope, which debuted on January 15, was the network’s major push between December 1, 2016 and January 22, 2016. Digital advertisements for The Young Pope took three of the top 10 spots in terms of the network’s digital ad spend, with two desktop video ads and one page skin ad.

The page skin ad above was the network’s top-spending ad, which only appeared on IMDB.com from January 15 (the day of the premiere) to January 16. This last-minute promotion cost more than $1.1 million to run.


Watch the Video

 The video above was one of two top video advertisements for The Young Pope. Both video advertisements aired on YouTube between December 5 and December 23, costing a combined total of more than $190,000.


Game of Thrones Keeps Us Guessing

After The Young Pope page skin, the advertisement HBO spent the second highest amount on was a Game of Thrones page skin on WinterIsComing.net


The ad was first seen on October 5, 2016 and was still running at the time this post was written. Game of Thrones fans—are you confused by this timing? After the season 6 finale in June 2016, fans have been left in the cold on the season 7 premiere date.

A recent IMDB update lead fans to believe that we could expect a new season on June 25, 2017, but this hasn’t been confirmed. So should we expect it sooner? Why did HBO spend more than $399,000 on this one advertisement alone from December 1 – January 22? Note: At the time this post was written, this GOT ad was still running.


HBO Pays Big for Big Little Lies

The network spent more than $500,000 from December 2 – December 5 on a single ad for Big Little Lies, a limited series starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon and Shailene Woodley, airing February 19. This was the third most expensive ad from December to mid-January.


Watch the Video

The ad appeared across YouTube channels for just three days, with a shorter 30-second version appearing on YouTube, among other channels like AccuWeather and Fox News starting January 21. This shorter ad cost about $70,000 at the time this post was written, although it’s still running.


What Else to Expect from HBO in 2017

Among the top ten ads for HBO shows also promoted include: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, Real Time with Bill Maher and Pete Holmes: Faces and Sounds. However, media is fast-paced and we can’t promise the network won’t surprise us with a big push for a new series in the next day or even hour.

If you really want to keep up with the media world and their exact digital placements in nearly real-time, try a demo of Pathmatics. The software gives you access to brands’ daily spend, placements, purchasing channels and ad publishers, as well as their top ads and formats. 

Request a Demo


About Author
Jordan Kramer

An out-of-the-box thinker with a love for disruptive ideas, Jordan's background spans PR and events for the wedding & hospitality industry in Los Angeles and Scottsdale and also launching one of America's most unique food trucks. She jumped from the food start-up scene to the tech start-up scene in 2013 to join one of the most unique companies in ad tech. Jordan is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication.

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