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Twitter Picks Up ‘Game of Thrones’ Live Aftershow From Bill Simmons’ The Ringer

Variety logo Variety 6/13/2017 Todd Spangler
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For the upcoming seventh season of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” fans will be able to watch recaps and commentary live on Twitter and Periscope — for free, without having to subscribe to the premium cable service.

Twitter struck a deal with Bill SimmonsThe Ringer digital-media venture to live-stream the “Game of Thrones” aftershow on the social-media service. The aftershow, renamed “Talk the Thrones,” will be available on Twitter at @ringer and on the publication’s Periscope feed.

HBO will premiere season 7 of “Game of Thrones” on July 16, which the programmer has said is the second-to-last season of the franchise.

Last year, the Ringer’s “GOT” after show, previously called “After the Thrones,” aired on HBO Go and HBO Now and was available to subscribers on video-on-demand. On Twitter, “Talk the Thrones” will again be hosted by the Ringer’s Andy Greenwald and Chris Ryan.

For Twitter, the deal is an incremental expansion of its broader live-video strategy. The company has a deal to stream free weekly games from Major League Baseball, and while it lost the NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” package to Amazon, it has a pact with the football league for ancillary live programming. Twitter also has live-video deals with the WNBA, BuzzFeed, Viacom, Live Nation, the PGA, IMG Fashion and Bloomberg Media, with which it’s planning to launch a 24-hour news network on the service later this year.

Simmons, who founded the Ringer last year after an acrimonious departure from ESPN, recently struck a sales and technology agreement with Vox Media. Under the pact, the Vox sales and marketing teams will sell brand advertising for the Ringer; in addition, the Ringer will use Vox’s proprietary Chorus technology and data platform for digital media.

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