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‘The Sopranos’ Anniversary Hype Fuels Viewership as HBO On-Demand Audiences Surge

Whaddyuh you lookin’ at? “The Sopranos” is enjoying a bada-boost from its 20th anniversary, as on-demand viewing of the classic HBO series has greatly increased in recent weeks.

All the hype surrounding the show, which launched on Jan. 10, 1999, has led fans to re-binge the series — and perhaps a few new viewers to finally catch up on Tony and crew. According to HBO, usage this week on HBO Go (the pay cabler’s TV Everywhere service) and HBO Now (its subscription video on demand service) of “The Sopranos” is up 70% versus late last year.

HBO has been giving “The Sopranos” heavy promotion on its digital platforms because of the anniversary — according to a spokesperson, it’s on the landing page when users log into HBO Go, for example. As a result, in recent days “The Sopranos” has risen to No. 2 among all series on both HBO Go and HBO Now, behind only “Game of Thrones.”

But it’s not just HBO noticing “The Sopranos” bump. According to the Comcast’s Xfinity On Demand Top 20 shows for the week ending Jan. 6, “The Sopranos” has landed back on the list, all the way at No. 3 (behind only “Game of Thrones” and Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly”).

“The Sopranos” anniversary has been covered throughout the media, and is even the focus of a new book by Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz, “The Sopranos Sessions.” Much of the show’s surviving cast and producers also gathered on Tuesday in New York for a reunion event.

But “The Sopranos” nostalgia isn’t a new thing. The popularity of the show, long considered the show that kicked off the modern “Golden Age of Television,” never went away. The David Chase drama still boasts a long tail — and the show’s 86 episodes remain a huge draw on demand.

The HBO spokesperson noted that “The Sopranos” usually falls somewhere in its HBO Go and HBO Now top 10 on a monthly basis, even though its finale aired nearly 12 years ago.

On Xfinity, the company also noted that “The Sopranos” is also frequently on its VOD list, despite being in an age where there are plenty of new TV shows to binge on. In 2018, “The Sopranos” ended the year at No. 11 among all shows, making it the only show not currently in production to land in the top 20. The show did particularly well in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, where in both markets it was the No. 4 most-watched Xfinity On Demand program of the year, Boston (No. 5), and Chicago (No. 7). Other cities where “The Sopranos” remained hot: Baltimore, Denver, Minneapolis, and San Francisco.

“While there is more great programming available than ever before, ‘The Sopranos’ has consistently been in the Xfinity On Demand Top 20 for years, and was among HBO’s most requested series by X1 customers using the voice remote last year,” said Brynn Lev, vice president, editorial and programming, content strategy and operations for Comcast Cable.

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