Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season premiere was watched by 17.4 million viewers last Sunday night, shattering its own ratings record.
The record-breaking figure includes 11.8 million viewers who watched the episode on HBO at 9 p.m. ET, while the 5.6 million viewers were those who viewed the two encore presentations that same night and those who streamed the season-opener on HBO Go and HBO Now apps.
The number beat the show’s previous overnight record of 16.9 million viewers for the Season 7 finale last August 2017. It also surpassed the 16.1 million viewers of the Season 7 premiere last July 2017.
According to HBO, last Sunday night is the “largest night of streaming activity ever” for the network, pointing out that HBO Now grew by 50 percent from the Season 7 finale, and by 97 percent from the Season 7 premiere.
While the total number was up, the linear broadcast of the season premiere at 9 p.m. ET (11.8 million) was down compared to Season 7 finale’s 12.1 million viewers. Though the decline might simply due to the evolving viewing habits of people, HBO said that the decrease might be brought about by its carriage dispute with Dish Network.
After the two companies failed to land on a deal, HBO ultimately became unavailable for Dish subscribers last November. Interestingly, despite the failure to reach an agreement, Game of Thrones still got a little promotion from Dish. “Even though HBO is not available on Dish, you can still watch their content with the HBO NOW app,” a video on Dish’s website explained on Sunday.
After months of streaming viewership was added, Game of Thrones Season 7 grew to average about 32 million viewers per episode. While that number is already huge, HBO expects Season 8 to average a larger audience.