News and Analysis
Can you imagine HBO’s Game of Thrones being sliced like the centerpiece of a Red Wedding and served in 20-minute episodes?
AT&T’s Randall Stephenson can. In fact, the telco chief told a J.P. Morgan conference today that it could happen if his company is permitted to takeover Time Warner, the owner of the premium channel where GOT airs.
“(AT&T could) “do things … uniquely with Game of Thrones for your mobile environment … and if you get this right … you probably will want to make this available later to other providers as well…” Stephenson said, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
He continued: “I’ll cause (HBO CEO Richard) Plepler at HBO to panic…Maybe you want a 20-minute episode (of the now 60-minute Game of Thrones)…Let the content geniuses and creative geniuses think about this, but curate the content uniquely for a mobile environment.”
“We actually think there’s an opportunity to accelerate the HBO platform in the mobile environment,” Stephenson added. “There are so many opportunities to drive value…(making it) “more conducive to consumption in a mobile environment.”
AT&T’s merger with Time Warner is currently under review by the Justice Department with a decision expected by year’s end. Anti-trust analysts have been mixed about the deal’s chances of approval, and President Trump said during the campaign that he opposes it.
AT&T has expressed optimism that it will pass, though, noting it would not significantly reduce competition in the media/content category.
However, if Stephenson is serious about cutting Game of Thrones to 20 minutes — even if it’s only for the mobile edition — fans of the wildly popular drama might find reason to pick up the pitchforks and torches and head to Washington, D.C. to voice their opinions.
— Phillip Swann