The TV landscape has changed considerably, even in the three years since HBO aired the finale of “Game Of Thrones.” Streaming continues to establish itself as the preferred option for many audiences. As a result, traditional, linear “TV ratings” no longer carry the weight they once did. That is particularly true for premium networks like HBO and Showtime, which have been leaning especially hard into their streaming offerings (and also generate ample subscription revenue from these platforms).
That reality does not, however, mean there is no value in looking at how TV broadcasts a performing — especially from a comparative perspective.
For Sunday’s “House Of The Dragon” premiere, said perspective is generally favorable.
According to live+same-day data from Showbuzz, the 9PM launch of the “Game Of Thrones” prequel drew a 0.55 adults 18-49 rating and averaged 2.17 million total viewers.
The demo rating was the best for a Sunday cable show. It, moreover, ranks as the #3 tally across all of national television — only the 8PM airing of “Big Brother” (0.79) and the preseason Ravens vs. Cardinals game (0.65) drew larger better adults 18-49 audiences.
The viewership number is actually on par with the 2.2 million drawn by the premiere of the original “Game Of Thrones” series (that broadcast did, however, draw a much stronger 0.9 demo rating). Such a comparison is the epitome of apples-to-oranges, however, as “Game Of Thrones” did not become a phenomenon until later in its run (the final episodes averaged a 4.8 in the demo and over 10 million viewers). “House Of The Dragon” launches with existing “Game Of Thrones” recognition, hype, and credibility on its side, which means interest levels could currently be at or near their peak.
Granted, HBO has no reason to sweat the live television number anyway. The network announced Monday that the “House Of The Dragon” premiere garnered 9.99 million opening night viewers across all platforms, representing the biggest HBO launch in history.