Game of Thrones didn't just dominate the conversation over your first cup of coffee, your lunchtime sandwich, and the ensuing mid-afternoon re-fuel. Last night's season 7 finale dominated the airwaves, too. According to Mashable, 16.5 million viewers tuned into the show last night across all platforms, excluding anyone who recorded the show or still hasn't watched it yet. Mashable estimates that when it's all said and done, the total number of views could reach 33-34 million.
The show's seventh season managed to overcome a cadre of hurdles, including hackers leaking episodes ahead of time, critics' tepid reception to some of the episodes, competition from other shows, and an oddly timed MTV VMA ceremony up against the finale last night. Even with all of the odds stacked against it, Game of Thrones' season 7 per-episode viewership was 34% above season 6.
Understandably, last night's finale managed the highest viewership of any episode.
Game of Thrones has dominated HBO's viewership since its fourth season, when it was still in the territory of 18.4 million viewers per episode. That was enough to push it past The Sopranos, the show that held the honors before GoT.
Mashable predicts that the show's eighth and final season will bring in even higher numbers. HBO's strategy seems poised to do just that. After season 7's premiere was shortened and then delayed, fans learned that season 8 may not even air until 2019. That's bad news for die-hard viewers, but it's good for HBO, since that gives the network plenty of time to ramp up marketing efforts and build major anticipation for the conclusion of its most popular show.
After all, if a few months of waiting got 34% more viewers behind the show, a year could see an even bigger jump.
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