Analysis: HBO, Showtime, Starz (TCA Video)

With about 28.5 million subscribers, HBO remains the leader in pay cable—although those numbers are down versus a year ago. Runner-up Showtime claims 18.2 million subscribers, while Starz has 17.3 million. Horse races aside, all three networks run original programs that have struck a chord with viewers.
HBO had a banner year, with True Blood’s 3rd season finale drawing just under 5.5 million viewers. Meanwhile, Boadwalk Empire opened to strong numbers, not to mention a couple of Golden Globe awards—Best TV Drama and Best Actor in a TV Drama for Steve Buscemi.
Next up is the fantasy series Game of Thrones and the miniseries Mildred Pierce.