HBO Max’s new Game of Thrones prequel drew the largest audience for a new streaming series ever.
HBO Max premiered House of the Dragon on Sunday evening, a prequel series to its critically and financially acclaimed series Game of Thrones. The premiere drew nearly 10 million viewers on its first night. This is a record high for a series premiere.
“HBO has just announced that the premiere… has shattered the network’s premiere episode rating record. The premiere episode brought in 9.986 million viewers across HBO’s linear platform and HBO Max’s streaming service in the United States during the night of its premiere,” says Collider.
The premiere was so large that it caused HBO Max outages, generating more than 7,000 reports of crashes in the first hour after it premiered. An HBO spokesman reassured news outlets that millions of viewers were still able to view the premiere.
Why it’s important
As we reported yesterday, the popularity of House of the Dragon is another indicator that streaming services represent the future of entertainment. Streaming consumption overtook cable viewing in July for the first time ever.
Game of Thrones is a phenomenon with one of the largest followings on any streaming platform, and the demand for new content is high. The premiere of the final season drew 17.9 million viewers and 19.8 million for the series finale.
“[I]t was wonderful to see millions of Game of Thrones fans return with us to Westeros last night…we’re ecstatic with viewers’ positive response,” says HBO’s chief content officer Casey Bloys.
Backing up a bit
House of the Dragon is a 10-episode miniseries based on George R.R. Martin’s novel Fire and Blood, set 200 years before the events of the popular series. New episodes debut every Sunday night until the finale on October 23.
The success of streaming is shadowed by the fact that services are beginning to shift attention away from audience retention to maximizing profitability. HBO Max recently laid off 14% of its workforce, canceled several movies and shows, and ended CNN+ as part of a shift in corporate strategy. Disney+ is similarly raising prices from $7.99 to $10.99 per month. Most streaming services are similarly considering adding lower-priced monthly options with commercial breaks. Netflix has warned it plans to crack down on account sharing.