Winter came to Westeros. And so did viewers.
Deadline reports that the seventh season premiere of “Game of Thrones”, entitled “Dragonstone,” drew some 16.1 million viewers. This breaks down to approximately 10.1 million watching live, with another 6 million streaming through its apps HBO Go and HBO Now.
Last season’s most-watched episode was the season six finale with 8.89 million viewers.
HBO’s previous ratings record was set with the season four premiere of “The Sopranos” in 2002. That episode drew in 13.42 million viewers in a time when streaming services did not yet exist.
“Game of Thrones” was shut out of this year’s Emmy race because it was ineligible. In order to adequately portray the long-awaited winter, production was delayed, and so was the air date. The seventh season will air seven episodes, with the finale set for August 27. The show may have been ineligible for Emmys in 2017, but it will no doubt be a key player in 2018.
And people were not only watching the show. They tweeted about it en masse. Variety reports that there were approximately 2.4 million tweets during the 68 minute episode. The most tweeted about character was Arya Stark. Grammy-winning singer Ed Sheeran also drew a lot of attention with a cameo that gave him a chance to sing. The song appeared in the third novel, “A Storm of Swords.”
These numbers demonstrate a shift in the way viewers are watching and interacting with their favorite shows. It remains to be seen how HBO and others will adapt to this changing landscape.