‘Game of Thrones’ Ratings: HBO Show Returns With Series High

Game of Thrones Season 5 TV

More and more viewers are getting swept up by HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” with Sunday’s season premiere setting another series high in the ratings.

Once considered something of a niche show, “Thrones” is now delivering numbers topped on cable only by AMC’s “The Walking Dead.” Nielsen estimates than an average audience of about 8 million watched the initial telecast of “Game of Thrones” on Sunday — up 1.16 million viewers (or 17%) from its year-ago debut of 6.84 million. It’s also about 800,000 more than any other episode of the show to date.

“Game of Thrones” first drew 4 million viewers for an episode with its season 2 finale, then surpassed 5 million viewers for the first time midway through Season 3. It hit the 6-million mark with its season 4 premiere, passed 7 million with its fifth episode last year and now 8 million. Its peak had been the seventh episode of last year, which drew 7.195 million.

And like “The Walking Dead,” “Game of Thrones” has grown its average seasonal audience with each year. The first season of “Thrones” in 2011 averaged 2.52 million viewers for its initial Sunday telecast, according to Nielsen “live plus same-day” estimates. It has grown in successive seasons to 3.8 million in 2012, to 4.97 million in 2013 and then 6.84 million in 2014.

It seems well on its way to extending that streak again this year.

In adults 18-49, primetime’s most important demo but one that has little effect on a premium service like HBO, Sunday’s premiere of “Game of Thrones” averaged a 4.19 rating (or about 5.3 million viewers). This is up 14% from last year’s premiere score (3.61) and is 6% higher than the show’s peak in the seventh week (3.95).

By comparison, AMC’s season finale of “Walking Dead” two weeks ago did an 8.16 rating in Nielsen’s “live plus same-day” averages while averaging nearly twice as many total viewers as “Thrones” (15.8 million).

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  1. YouTube says:

    People are only wacthing the show because when ever the walking dead is over they go wacth that show. Then when TWD comes back yay it’s fans are back. .Millions be wacthing TWD. And also game of thrones loses viewers. When they go back to TWD when it starts. That’s So true really. not to be mean. HBO isn’t AMC not compitetion.

    • jobs says:

      You don’t make any sense. Yes, TWD and GOT don’t run at the same time. So they probably get same viewers, but they can’t lose viewers from one to another because if one show airs – another is not, so it doesn’t matter.

  2. nerdrage says:

    Well why not? The people who pirate the show are not the same population as the people who have the money to pay for an HBO subscription on top of cable. But one day, HBO Now will be the main revenue stream for HBO as cable goes extinct, and that’s when piracy will start hurting.

  3. gigantor21 says:

    And that’s despite the first 4 episodes being leaked and finding their way on to Torrent sites. Damn impressive results.

  4. dean says:

    Glad it’s doing well. I find the show a bit plodding. The lighting doesn’t seem as painstaking as in earlier times.

  5. Tyrion Baratheon Nielsen says:

    Is this only for the first showing at 9 pm? I’d be interested to know the ratings on subsequent runs. This is just one of the many ways in which cable has the advantage over network, although HBO is a subscription model so the economics are different, of course.

    • mom2two says:

      It sounds like just for the initial showing at 9pm. Very good results, especially as noted above, the first 4 episodes had leaked.

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