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Why HBO May Lose Video Throne

This past Sunday, as HBO premiered the latest season of “Game of Thrones,” the network once again could bask in the show’s success. It should enjoy the moment. Given how much the TV environment has changed, it may not come again.

“Game of Thrones,” now in its sixth season, is currently on track to end in two more years. And that creates uncertainty about HBO’s future. It has no other hits on the same scale as “Game of Thrones.” Moreover, some of the network’s next-generation shows are faltering, like “Vinyl.” Concerns about HBO’s ageing hits have loomed before, most notably in 2007 when “The Sopranos” ended. But HBO was operating in a much less competitive landscape then, giving it more time to come up with a new hit.

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The only thing HBO did to adapt to the new environment was launch a digital standalone streaming service in addition to its version available through pay TV. But that’s only highlighted how much pricier HBO is than its peers—$15 a month versus $9 or $10 for rivals.