“Game of Thrones” has been the show to beat this summer, and the HBO juggernaut just ended its Season 7 run with another record episode. Sunday night’s finale averaged 12.1 million viewers for its initial 9 p.m. airing, making that the show’s largest overnight ratings ever.
That number includes anyone who watched “Thrones” live or via DVR and VOD until 3 a.m. the next morning. It’s sure to grow as additional days of time-shifted viewing, and digital audiences, are thrown into the mix. But already, per HBO, additional airings and streaming has bumped that number for the 80-minute episode, “The Dragon and the Wolf,” to 16.5 million viewers.
In comparison, Season 6 ended with 8.9 million viewers – which was a series high at the time – while Season 5 ended with 8.1 million. The show has come a long way from its first season, which ended with 3 million viewers.
“Thrones” has been the second-most watch program of the summer, behind only NBC’s “America’s Got Talent.” But among adults 18-49, “Thrones” is a monster. The Season 7 penultimate episode, airing August 20, averaged a 6.0 rating in the demo in live+3 ratings (which includes three days of DVR and VOD time shifting). That was far ahead of the week’s second place finisher, “America’s Got Talent – Tuesday” (3.5 rating).
And in the last live+7 number available, for the Aug. 13 episode, “Thrones” averaged a stunning 6.6 rating.
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HBO reported that the Season 7 premiere reached a gross audience of 16.1 million viewers (Linear Plays + Same Day DVR Playback + HBOGO/HBO NOW), up 50 percent from last year’s premiere. Per HBO, that performance set a record as the most watched premiere night in HBO’s history for any series. In early August, HBO reported that the show had been averaging 30.6 million viewers when all platforms and time shifting was tallied.