‘Game of Thrones’ Season 8 Premiere Breaks Series Record With 17.4 Million Multiplatform Viewers

Winterfell is getting crowded

game of thrones

The Season 8 premiere of “Game of Thrones” pulled in 17.4 million multiplatform viewers Sunday, setting a new series record and accounting for “the largest night of streaming activity ever for HBO,” per the pay-TV channel.

The eighth season’s start, titled “Winterfell,” claimed that viewer tally when combining linear data, as well as that from HBO Go and HBO Now platforms, per HBO. When counting just those who tuned in “live” to watch the premiere on HBO at 9 p.m., the episode scored 11.8 million viewers.

The Season 8 premiere came in ahead of Season 7’s in terms of linear viewers — as that “GoT” installment hauled in 10.1 million overall sets of eyeballs in the “live” metric — but behind the seventh season’s finale, which earned 12.1 million viewers.

Speaking of the Season 7 finale, which aired way back on Aug. 27, 2017, that episode was the previous record holder for multiplatform viewers, growing to 16.9 million viewers when counting Go/Now and same-night reruns, according to HBO.

HBO’s preferred internal numbers, which count HBO Go, HBO Now and repeats, cut off 30 days after each season finale airs. Per HBO’s own count — so yes, that month-plus-long version — U.S. viewership per season has been:

Season 1: 9.3 million
Season 2: 11.6 million
Season 3: 14.4 million
Season 4: 19.1 million
Season 5: 20.2 million
Season 6: 25.7 million
Season 7: 32.8 million

Below is Nielsen’s version, which counts seven days of delayed viewing per episode. This is a more typical way of looking at things, but it does not count HBO’s significant streaming additions.

Season 1:  3.3 million
Season 2:  4.9 million
Season 3:  6.4 million
Season 4:  9.0 million
Season 5:  9.5 million
Season 6:  10.6 million
Season 7:  13.7 million

HBO penetrates about one-third of U.S. homes and the premium-cable channel was dropped by Dish at the end of last year. So putting up these numbers (both HBO’s versions and Nielsen’s) for a show that isn’t as accessible as those on broadcast and basic cable is very impressive.

“Game of Thrones” airs Sundays at 9/8c on HBO.