If it felt like everyone watched Sunday night's final season premiere of Game of Thrones, that's because they did. The return episode of the HBO blockbuster broke the show's record with a whopping 17.4 million viewers. That number, which counts all the eyeballs on HBO's platforms (linear HBO, HBOGO, and HBO NOW), breaks the 16.9 million mark set by the Game of Thrones Season 7 finale. The Season 7 premiere, by contrast, drew 16.1 million people to HBO's collection of platforms. As it turns out, people like this show!
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Here's more from an HBO press release bragging about the number: "As a testament to the evolving video consumption habits of subscribers, the HBO NOW streaming service saw a jump of approximately 50% in viewing when compared to last season's finale and nearly doubled (97%) when compared to the seventh season premiere. Yesterday accounts for the largest night of streaming activity ever for HBO."
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While the overall number was up, the linear broadcast of Game of Thrones at 9 p.m. ET was down compared to the Season 7 finale. HBO chalked that up to a carriage dispute with Dish Network (and perhaps the evolving viewing habits of people in 2019.)
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Game of Thrones wasn't just a hit on HBO; the show also exploded Twitter feeds. Data released by the social media platform revealed Thrones was tweeted about more than 5 million times on Sunday night, a record for a television show. After the episode ended, Thrones owned all 10 of the top trending terms on Twitter. Per Twitter, Bran was the character who received the most tweets, while Sam revealing Jon Snow's true parentage was the evening's biggest moment.
According to HBO, the seventh season of Game of Thrones averaged 32.8 million viewers per episode (this thanks to on-demand replays and additional linear broadcasts). The network expects Season 8 to average a larger audience and, sure, why not? They don't call it monoculture for nothing!
Game of Thrones airs Sundays on HBO at 9 p.m. ET. Five episodes remain in the series.
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