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It's my understanding that, as a Premium channel, HBO do not have commercial breaks during their shows.

Likewise in the UK, NOWTV (an on demand service) that airs GoT also doesn't feature commercials.

Why, then, does GoT frequently fade out to a GoT title card sting when airing in the UK? No adverts follow, it just drops straight back into the show. What's the purpose of it, why does it even exist?

It's poorly done, often jarringly so, and transitioned with a slow fade that's often hilariously misjudged (in last nights episode, as Daenerys re-appeared only to have the swelling orchestral accompaniment to her return immediately muted).

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    What is a title card sting? – Napoleon Wilson Jun 14 '16 at 12:33
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    a sting is a quick identifiable item used in branding. It can be a noise or an image, something with impact.. in the case of GoT, it's usually the title card which quickly flashes up – John Smith Optional Jun 14 '16 at 13:11
  • I've also seen the changeovers before/after commercial breaks referred to as bumpers or eyecatches. – matts Jun 14 '16 at 15:45
  • 1
    Sting (Wikipedia), Sting (TVTropes) (warning: tvtropes). – SevenSidedDie Jun 14 '16 at 17:05
  • Bumpers are typically for the network or for other shows, not for the show being interrupted. A different word for this in the radio world would be a Station Ident. – cde Jun 14 '16 at 18:16
32

If you look at the NowTV page for Game of Thrones, you will see that it's licenced from Sky Atlantic (not directly from HBO). The version shown on Sky Atlantic has title card fades for advert breaks, and that is how it gets to NowTV, who simply make it available 'as is' to keep their costs low.

Most NowTV shows licenced from Sky will have similar title card fades, regardless of who originally produced or aired them.

Edited to add: Apparently, it has recently changed so there is only one advert break per episode on Sky, so it should follow that NowTV will only have one title card fade per episode.

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    I see! it's a shame they can't eliminate the stings, but if they're just picked up from Sky that makes sense. I'll just have to look forward to the tone of the episode being totally ruined only once per episode, from now on ;) – John Smith Optional Jun 14 '16 at 13:33
  • Not sure about that last part. There was definitely more than 1 advert during last nights episode. – SGR Jun 14 '16 at 14:22
  • It's probably entirely automated, and what Sky gives them have the "adverts here" marker after the title card. – Stop Harming Monica Jun 14 '16 at 14:48
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    @JohnSmithOptional Particularly as NowTV is a division of Sky it seems like it ought to be reasonably simple for them to arrange this. I suspect incompetence. – Jules Jun 14 '16 at 17:09
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    @JohnBiddle, but Sky are already editing it, by adding title card stings (HBO don't have ads). If they weren't allowed to edit it, there would be no poorly misjudged stings, and there would be no problem. – John Smith Optional Jun 15 '16 at 7:57

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