By any measure the return of Game of Thrones was a blockbuster for Foxtel -it just came with a bad taste in the mouth after the failure of online streaming service Foxtel Now.
But the broadcast numbers for those who viewed it through cable and satellite was another record.
It pulled a massive 799,000 viewers across its two screenings (447,000 / 352,000), beating out last year’s Season 6 debut of 727,000 (including +2 channel). That makes it the biggest series premiere in Pay TV history.
Last year it debuted on ANZAC Day with the public holiday pulling a whopping 396,000 viewers for its 11am premiere. Another 285,000 watched a primetime screening.
It also beat the S6 finale audience of 737,000 in total Overnight viewers (382,000 / 355,000) last June.
The Season 7 debut was also huge on social media, trending in New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. Tweets surrounding Arya Stark, a surprise Ed Sheeran cameo and Daenerys & Tyrion were amongst the most popular topics.
The failure of Foxtel Now has been likened to crashes on HBO Now even though the two systems are entirely independent.
— Foxtel (@Foxtel) July 17, 2017
Including those who were able to view on Foxtel Now the number climbs to 820,000 viewers, according to Foxtel, which means the meltdown has significantly impacted the number it could have spruiked today.
Brian Walsh, Foxtel’s Executive Director of Television said, “Game of Thrones has again broken records worldwide cementing its place in television history as one of the most watched programming events of all time. The audience of 820,000 who tuned in to Episode 1 is unprecedented for Foxtel and we are ecstatic with the result. I fully expect this number to tilt at 1.5 million by the week’s end once more customers have viewed the episode through our catch up On Demand service and encore screenings which are scheduled on the showcase channel throughout the week.
“As has been reported, HBO in the US, its affiliate in Latin America, and Foxtel all experienced some technical glitches with our respective streaming products and we reiterate our disappointment for those customers impacted by the outage. Foxtel engineers are working to resolve the issue to ensure smooth transmission for the remainder of the series.”
Foxtel is yet to announce any refunds.