From rewatching the 10 best and most relevant past episodes to hoping that showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss meet all of their expectations, fans of Game of Thrones are doing everything that they can to prepare for Sunday’s season eight premiere. Numerous companies have been doing the same with increasingly weird (and unrelated) promotions tied to the show. And then there’s the Dish Network, the satellite TV company that’s now telling its own subscribers to sign up for HBO Now.
According to Variety, Dish’s own website is instructing Game of Thrones fans who happen to be subscribers to sign up for HBO’s streaming service. Why? Because Dish and HBO have yet to come to a new business agreement, which means that the former’s customers don’t have access to Game of Thrones via their satellite hookup:
“Even though HBO is not available on Dish, you can still watch their content with the HBO NOW app,” a tutorial video explains on Dish’s website. “It only takes a few minutes. Click, start your free trial, then just follow the on-screen instructions. Now, you’re ready to start watching HBO shows and movies, including ‘Game of Thrones,’ when you want, where you want.”
Variety astutely notes that it’s an “unusual” move on Dish’s part — telling its own customers to subscribe to a (current) rival’s streaming service. Considering how massive Game of Thrones is right now, it actually makes good business sense. Because it’s “an attempt to placate customers by pointing out they can stay with Dish, even though it doesn’t currently offer HBO, and yet still watch the channel.”
As for why Dish customers do not have access to HBO, Cinemax and other bundled stations, Variety credits AT&T’s recent acquisition of Time Warner and the creation of WarnerMedia. The latter owns HBO et al., while the former owns Dish rival DirecTV. As a result, it seems that AT&T may not want to placate a direct rival of its satellite television subsidiary.