NEW YORK — Nearly 10 million people saw the premiere of “House of the Dragon” on Sunday night, making the “Game of Thrones” spinoff HBO's most-watched series premiere in the network's history.
HBO aired the episode four times on premiere night and it was also streamed on HBO Max. The viewership number is only going to increase in the coming weeks.
For instance, the “Game of Throne” series finale in May 2019 was seen on its first night by 19.8 million, more than any other series episode on HBO, the Nielsen company said. HBO estimates that some 46 million people in total have seen it, when delayed viewing is taken into account.
Anticipation for “House of the Dragon” was evident in how many people were streaming old “Game of Thrones” episodes on HBO Max, which the network fed by offering crisper picture quality. The weekly average of streams in August is nearly 90% above June, the network said.
“The ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel recaptured the fire of HBO's original masterpiece in a big way,” said Ashwin Navin, co-founder and CEO of the research firm Samba TV. That company estimated that the HBO series more than doubled the first-day viewership for Netflix's new season of “Stranger Things” this summer.
The challenge — and opportunity — for HBO lies in trying to expand “House of the Dragon” beyond the built-in fan base, Navin said.
CBS was the most popular broadcast network in prime time last week, averaging 2.8 million viewers. NBC had 2.7 million, ABC had 2.4 million, Fox had 1.9 million, Ion Television had 1.04 million, Univision had 1.01 million and Telemundo had 810,000.
Fox News Channel led the cable networks with a prime-time average of 2.31 million. MSNBC had 1.32 million, ESPN had 896,000, Hallmark had 870,000 and HGTV had 866,000.
ABC's “World News Tonight” won the evening news ratings race, averaging 7.2 million viewers last week. NBC's “Nightly News” had 6.1 million and the “CBS Evening News” had 4.2 million.