‘Game of Thrones’ Ratings Hit New Highs in Season 6

Whether or not “Game of Thrones'” fans loved the not-so-surprising death from last Sunday’s episode, one thing is for certain – they’re still tuning in. Although Season 6 comes to an end this Sunday, according to USA Today, viewership for the show has averaged 23.3 million this season, up 15% from last year.

Sunday premiere ratings for the season are up 6% for an average of 7.3 million viewers, with TV and on-demand viewing increasing by 4%, per Nielsen and streaming data provided to USA Today. But the real increase in viewership is reflected digitally, through streaming site HBO Go and standalone service HBO Now, with viewing up 70% over last season, which means 2.5 million streams (reported as view counts and time spent watching). HBO Now allows non-subscribers to have access to HBO shows and movies for $15 a month without a cable subscription.

HBO CEO Richard Plepler insists that fears about TV network programming being cannibalized by online views are unwarranted.

“It simply expands the audience’s opportunity to watch our programs. It’s all about expanding the pie,” he said to USA Today.

HBO’s other Sunday night shows are also up, although not quite in the same realm as “Thrones.” “Silicon Valley,” averaging 6.4 million viewers, is up 4% overall, with streaming viewership up 37%; and “Veep,” averaging 4.4 million, is up 6% overall with a digital increase of 40%.

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