How ‘Game of Thrones’ YouTube Fan Videos Help HBO’s Top Franchise

Red Wedding

User-generated 'GoT' content on Google's video site represents 89% of show-related viewing: Zefr report

HBO has just concluded “Game of Thrones” season four in epic fashion — and the cabler can thank YouTube for helping to build and sustain fan mania for the show.

Fan-created “GoT” videos vastly outnumber those on HBO’s official “Game of Thrones” YouTube channel, by a ratio of 82 to 1, according to a Google analysis. That makes the series the biggest on YouTube in terms of user-generated reaction videos, alternate endings and other content related to the show.

SEE ALSO: ‘Game of Thrones’ Finale: Star and Director Talk Shocking Deaths, Battles in Season 4 Closer

And those fan videos generate 89% of all “Thrones” views on YouTube, according to a new analysis by Internet video-software vendor Zefr. The HBO-run “GoT” channel has more than 172 million views to date. But that’s dwarfed by the estimated 1.4-plus billion of “Game of Thrones” YouTube videos uploaded by users, according to Zefr.

The fan content includes this video compiling reactions to the infamous season 3 “Red Wedding” episode, which has been viewed more than 10.7 million times. All told, more than 1,700 Red Wedding-related videos are hosted on YouTube, and those have been viewed more than 40 million times.

“Once a new episode airs, fan communities breathe new life into the show, revealing the power of fans to turn a TV show into a cultural phenomenon,” Zefr audience analyst Erik Weber said. “Because ‘Game of Thrones’ is so captivating, and frequently shocking, fan-made videos that get shared online are fittingly over the top themselves, demanding plenty of attention in their own right.”

Overall, fan-created videos drive 86% of the views of branded content on YouTube, according to Zefr.

SEE ALSO: YouTube, Once TV’s Enemy, Tries to Show How It Drives Viewers to TV Shows

Media firms once would have vigorously policed Internet sites like YouTube, demanding that websites pull down copyrighted material (in favor of driving consumers to their official outlets). But increasingly, TV networks and other entertainment companies are tapping into YouTube and social media to let user-created content flourish — seeing it as valuable promotion.

Google’s research has found that TV-related activity on YouTube, including the user-created content, helps boost ratings. The Internet giant found a positive correlation between Nielsen TV ratings and traffic on its services (Google searches, YouTube searches and YouTube video views).

Also key is that fan-posted material can keep TV viewers engaged in a show during the hiatus between seasons. Need a “Game of Thrones” fix until season five in 2015? Westeros enthusiasts can watch — and rewatch, share and comment on — this Bad Lip Reading video, which has more than 13 million views on YouTube:

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