The return of Game of Thrones topped Pay TV viewing in Australia yesterday, screening across multiple broadcasts.
The “Winterfell” episode played 7 times on FOX Showcase (not including FOX Showcase +2).
Episode 1 achieved a total premiere audience of 962,000 on linear broadcast:
Comparing with 2017 S7 premiere is difficult… that drew 447,000 for its daytime broadcast and 352,000 for the primetime replay, at 799,000 viewers. So the 2019 audience is up 17% with extra playouts.
There were also big audiences through Foxtel Go and Foxtel Now platforms, which reflects the changing ways that viewers access content.
Yesterday it drew 273,000 via Foxtel GO / Now, up 618% on Ep 1 of S7 (38,400). Together with On Demand that figure rises to 333,000 -the highest single day VPM number on OzTAM this year, including Married at First Sight on Free to Air.
Brian Walsh, Foxtel’s Executive Director of Television said, “The Wall may have fallen but last night’s ratings have rocketed Game of Thrones higher than ever as Australia joined the rest of the world in watching this global television event in numbers never before seen on Foxtel. Yesterday’s viewership is a testament to the hunger that fans have had over the past two years for the return of the unrivalled action, drama and intrigue that only Game of Thrones can deliver and we are thrilled with the result. Frankly there is no other show like it. It is the television series of a generation.
“On Demand streaming of all past seasons of Game of Thrones on FOX Showcase was higher than ever as fans binged in anticipation of the season premiere and we fully expect today’s record breaking numbers to grow as even more customers continue watch encore screenings and relive the action On Demand.”
In the US the numbers were also massive.
11.8 million on HBO’s linear broadcast was down slightly on the S7 finale of 12.1 million, but it grew to 17.4 million viewers across all platforms (linear, HBOGO and HBO NOW) -up on both the S7 finale (16.9 million) and S7 premiere (16.1 million)
Yet those numbers will go higher still. These are the average US numbers per episode once delayed viewing, on-demand, and streaming figures are included:
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
Season 8: ?
The hit series was again the target of piracy, with TorrentFreak reporting over 120,000 BitTorrent users were actively sharing copies of the episode, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The first episode came out a few hours early for some people on DirectTV Now, adding to the long history of leaks.
Not much later, the season premiere was also widely available on various pirate sites. The first pirate releases were not sourced from the leak, however. They came from Amazon and were put online just minutes the show officially became available online.
Torrent sites used to be the main distribution platforms for pirated TV shows, but unauthorised streaming sites are much more popular today.