Facebook Lands ‘Game of Thrones’ US Premiere Livestream in Latest Video Play

Social networking behemoth builds on entertainment partnership with HBO, collaborates with ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” at SXSW in video push

It’s not TV; it’s Facebook.

The social media giant has partnered with HBO for the second year in a row to host the U.S. “Game of Thrones” premiere livestream from the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco on March 23.

The show’s rabid fanbase will get to watch via its Facebook page as Peter Dinklage, Emilia Clarke, Maisie Williams, Keisha Castle-Hughes and the rest of the cast walk the red carpet. The show’s stars will also answer fan questions submitted through Facebook and Instagram and pose for photos at an Instagram photo studio.

“Streaming directly to Facebook gives us an opportunity to engage the millions of fans who have connected with the ‘Game of Thrones’ page, giving them a way actively participate in the fun and excitement of the event with their friends,” explained Janine McGoldrick of HBO’s Corporate Affairs.

This is the second “Game of Thrones” livestream on Facebook for HBO. In addition, the premium cable network also partnered with the social platform to host a concert event with the Foo Fighters last fall for the premiere of their HBO series “Sonic Highways.”

There’s been renewed interest in livestreaming since a new mobile app named Meerkat stole the spotlight at SXSW last week. Twitter simultaneously announced they would be launching their own livestream app, Periscope, soon.

While Facebook hasn’t offered individual user livestreams as an option yet, the world’s leading social network has pledged that video is a priority. The number of video posts per person has increased 94 percent in the United States over the past year, averaging more than 1 billion video views per day. The company has also worked closely with the media and entertainment industries, encouraging publishers to let Facebook host video content in its native player.

Facebook is collaborating with ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” in Austin this week, shining a light on local and emerging bands during SXSW.

“Social reach is greater than that of television … it’s pretty crazy,” Jimmy Kimmel said in an interview with CNN at SXSW, predicting that late-night TV is headed toward obsolescence because people can now “watch anything at any time” online.

For five days straight, “Jimmy Kimmel Live” has had acts such as the Lost Pines performing intimate acoustic sets for the show’s Austin studio audience, that are available exclusively on the show’s Facebook page. Along with the performances, “Jimmy Kimmel Live” announcer, and Mighty Mighty Bosstones frontman, Dicky Barrett, also interviewed each band to let fans know a little more about their story. These videos are also available on the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” Facebook page.


Other media outlets taking advantage of the growing video views that come with Facebook’s native player include MSNBC, which just announced a partnership with digital video distributor NowThis to produce two daily video shows that will screen on Facebook before they appear anywhere else. Access Hollywood launched a daily video series on Facebook earlier this year called “Early Access on Facebook.”

One of the earliest adopters, ABC News launched a social media newscast on Facebook hosted by “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir in December, 2014. “Facecast” is a one-minute news update that plays on the social network every weekday.

“A newscast produced for the mobile use case is a great way to leverage Facebook’s platform and engage people in the journalism ABC News is known for,” said Andy Mitchell, Facebook’s Director, News and Global Media Partnerships, at the time.