HBO attempted to tout the success of the premiere episode of House of the Dragon describing it as the “largest audience for any new original series.” However, the show’s premiere brought in tens of millions less viewers than the finale of Game of Thrones.
In a press release WarnerMedia announced that House of the Dragon “drew 9.986 million viewers across linear and HBO Max platforms in the U.S. Sunday night, the largest audience for any new original series in the history of HBO.”
They further detailed, “The premiere also marked the largest series launch on HBO Max across the U.S., LatAm, and EMEA, driving an unprecedented level of concurrent streams on the platform”
The press release also noted that premiere day viewership only constitutes “just 20%-40% of the show’s total gross audience.”
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Interestingly, WarnerMedia also noted that Game of Thrones “wrapped its strongest week on HBO Max to date, capping off a seven-week stretch of week-over-week growth in engagement leading up to the premiere of “House of the Dragon.” The weekly average for “Game of Thrones” in August is nearly 90% above June and nearly 50% above July.”
Chief Content Officer for HBO & HBO Max Casey Bloys said, “It 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.”
“We look forward to sharing with audiences what else George, Ryan, and Miguel have in store for them this season,” Bloys added.
Despite, WarnerMedia tooting their own horn, the viewership numbers are significantly down from the final season of Game of Thrones, which only aired on HBO.
TV Series Finale reports the HBO only numbers for House of the Dragon clocked in at 2.170 million viewers.
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One has to go all the way back to Season 1 of Game of Thrones to find numbers that low on HBO. TV Series Finale reports that Season 1 had an average viewership of 2.52 million viewers.
Game of Thrones Season 8 premiere brought in 11.76 million viewers when it debuted back on April 14, 2019. The series finale would see 13.613 million viewers tune in. The series averaged 11.992 million viewers per episode according to the outlet.
USA Today reported that the series finale drew 19.3 million viewers overall after factoring in HBO GO and HBO Now. Entertainment Weekly further detailed that HBO informed them that “the season is averaging more than 44.2 million viewers once all forms of viewing are counted.”
TV Series Finale reported that the average viewership for Season 7 was 10.259 million viewers. Season 6’s average viewership hit 7.688 million. The most viewed episode for the sixth season was the season finale with 8.889 million viewers.
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Given HBO’s claim that this initial viewership of 9.986 million is 20 to 40% of what will likely be the total number, it’s possible the premiere might bring in anywhere between 25 million to 50 million viewers.
However, given the fact that the viewership tracked by TV Series Finale is significantly lower than any of the episodes in the final season of Game of Thrones, and you have to go all the way back to Season 1 to see viewership that low, it’s hard to believe the show is going to bring in those kind of numbers.
Instead, despite the narrative HBO and HBO Max are trying to push surrounding House of the Dragon, it appears that the dismal final seasons of Game of Thrones drove many people away. And those people did not return for House of the Dragon.
What do you make of these viewership numbers for House of the Dragon?
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