Game Of Thrones may have taken its time in the premiere and HBO Now might have been eaten alive like a certain bad guy by demand, but all that proves is nothing can stop it in the ratings. The premiere absolutely destroyed HBO’s viewing records, and by a fairly huge margin.
Variety has the whole breakdown, but in short, at 16 million people watching, with ten million watching it live and the rest on DVR or streaming it soon after, it’s the biggest premiere HBO has ever seen. It’s also twice as much as last year’s premiere, and that debuted in the spring, when people are less distracted by vacations and other fun stuff that doesn’t involve Ed Sheeran. It even broke records on HBO Go and HBO Now, which split the streaming traffic between them.
For a little contrast, this is more than an average episode of the highest-rated drama on broadcast TV, NCIS, tends to pull in, and Thrones is nowhere close to done yet, as the full ratings won’t be in for another week, and season six averaged 25 million viewers an episode. This may pull in a whole lot more, so, yeah, whatever HBO says, a spinoff is in the cards when the show wraps.