This is not Marketing. This is HBO: Branding HBO with Transmedia Storytelling

  • Melanie Bourdaa Université Bordeaux Montaigne, Laboratoire MICA


This article deals with the way HBO promotes its shows today using strategies of ‘transmedia storytelling’ (Jenkins 2006). The US pay-per view cable channel has a history of creating a specific promotional system around its programs. Its famous slogan ‘It’s Not TV. It’s HBO.’ accompanied the introduction of narrative complexity in shows like The Sopranos (HBO/Brillstein Entertainment Partner, 1999-2007) or The Wire (HBO/Blown Deadline Productions, 2002-8) for example. Transmedia Storytelling, as theorized by Henry Jenkins, is a way to extend stories across multiple media platforms in order to create a coherent storyworld, giving information on characters or insights on the plots and the narrative universe. This article analyses how HBO is developing strategies of transmedia storytelling. I will focus on two specific television shows, True Blood (HBO/Your Face Goes Here Entertainment, 2008- ) and Game of Thrones (HBO/Television 360/Grok! Television/Generator Entertainment/Bighead Littlehead, 2011- ), in order to understand how HBO managed to promote these shows and expand its brand in the American and international television landscape. I use a dual methodology, first presenting an analysis of the transmedia strategies related to the universes of the shows. Then I will draw on interviews with the creators of these strategies in order to understand how they are included in the promotion of HBO.

April 4, 2014
How to Cite
Bourdaa, M. (2014). This is not Marketing. This is HBO: Branding HBO with Transmedia Storytelling. Networking Knowledge: Journal of the MeCCSA Postgraduate Network, 7(1).