Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere breaks ratings records

We still don’t know who will win the iron throne, but we know who won the TV ratings.

Nielsen data from the U.S. shows that the Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere set a new high for the series with 17.4 million viewers: 11.8 million who watched its broadcast debut Sunday on HBO and on DVRs, and another 5.6 million who watched on streaming platforms HBO Go and HBO Now.

Jon Snow (Kit Harington) makes friends with dragon Rhaegal in the Season 8 premiere of Game of Thrones.
Jon Snow (Kit Harington) makes friends with dragon Rhaegal in the Season 8 premiere of Game of Thrones.  (HBO)

That tops the 16.1 million viewers who watched the Season 7 premiere on July 16, 2017 and, according to EW.com, makes Game of Thrones the most watched scripted entertainment program of the year. It beat The Big Bang Theory and the 14.1 million viewers who watched that comedy on Feb. 7 — and on a channel that’s less widely seen than Big Bang home CBS.

HBO expects the total audience for Sunday’s episode to grow as more people tune in to on-demand and repeat airings. The seventh season of Game of Thrones averaged 32.7 million viewers when all HBO platforms were counted.

In Canada, Crave says Sunday’s premiere was watched by 2.9 million viewers via linear broadcast, on demand and streaming platforms.

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It smashed the record for Canadian entertainment specialty and pay TV linear viewing, Crave says, attracting a preliminary average audience of 2.1 million viewers.

Thrones is also boosting streaming services like Crave’s and HBO’s.

Crave says it had its biggest spike in direct-to-consumer subscriptions in the week before the season premiere at 1,000 per cent, spiking to more than 3,000 per cent on Sunday. It also says Thrones is consistently the most streamed title week over week at Crave.ca and on the Crave app.

There are just five episodes to go until one of TV’s biggest pop culture juggernauts concludes. New episodes are available Sundays at 9 p.m. on Crave.

With files from the Los Angeles Times

TORONTO STAR

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