HBO reported that the first episode of its Game of Thrones spinoff House of the Dragon recorded the network’s biggest premiere of all time, recording 9.986 million viewers across linear and HBO Max streaming on Sunday night in the US alone. This was despite technical difficulties for some people trying to watch via Fire TV Sticks.
With the addition of streaming and on-demand data, the first season of Game of Thrones ended its run in 2019 with 13.7 million live viewers on linear channels for the finale, totalling over 19 million views. The entire series is now streamable in 4K on HBO Max, and according to HBO, interest in the original series increased before the Dragon launch. The weekly average of streaming for August was up 90% from July.
The question of whether viewers were still interested in the series after the previous show’s last season and with so many people switching their viewing preferences to streaming over cable in the preceding two years now seems to have an answer. according to HBO Chief Content Officer Casey Bloys, “[i]t was wonderful to see millions of Game of Thrones fans return with us to Westeros last night. House of the Dragon features an incredibly talented cast and crew who poured their heart and soul into the production, and we’re ecstatic with viewers’ positive response”.
The numbers are notable for HBO and HBO Max and come after a few weeks of confusing choices by its new corporate owners Warner Bros. Discovery, even though it’s difficult to compare them precisely. Recently, executives pulled hundreds of episodes of Sesame Street from HBO Max and threw the proposed Batgirl movie for HBO Max into the vault along with a number other renowned animated series.
Additionally, it will have competition in the swords-and-sorcery genre when The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power debuts on September 2 on Amazon’s Prime Video service. Two episodes of the Lord of the Rings television series will premiere at 9 PM ET on a Thursday night, followed by one episode each week at 12 AM ET on Fridays until the concluding episode, which will air on October 14th. Until the first season of House of the Dragon closes on October 23rd, new episodes will air every Sunday at 9 PM ET.