by Michael Szalay
Recent HBO dramas like Game of Thrones, Luck, and The Newsroom do more than generate HBO brand equity—they quantify that equity and determine the conditions under which it might be converted into other kinds of Time Warner equity. These incipiently financial dramas are futures markets that establish rates of conversion between heterogeneous equities and should be understood as functionally equivalent to the class of financial instruments known as derivatives.
“HBO’s Flexible Gold” is from Representations‘ current special issue Financialization and the Culture Industry. The introduction to the issue by C. D. Blanton, Colleen Lye, and Kent Puckett, is available online free of charge.