House of the Dragon was HBO's largest debut ever, with over 10 million US viewers

House of the Dragon was HBO’s largest debut ever, with over 10 million US viewers

Despite technical difficulties for some viewers using Fire TV Sticks, HBO announced that the first episode of its Game of Thrones spinoff House of the Dragon was the network’s biggest premiere of all time, garnering 9.986 million viewers across linear and HBO Max streaming on Sunday night in the United States alone.

The original Game of Thrones series ended its run in 2019 with 13.7 million live viewers on linear networks, totaling over 19 million views with the inclusion of streaming and video-on-demand figures. According to HBO, interest in the original series skyrocketed ahead of the Dragon launch, with the full series now accessible in 4K on HBO Max, attracting a weekly average in streaming for August that was up 90 percent from July.

Now it looks like there is an answer to the issue of whether fans were still interested in the series after the last show’s final season and with so many people switching to streaming over cable in the past two years. “It was amazing to see millions of Game of Thrones fans return to Westeros last night,” HBO chief content officer Casey Bloys said in a statement. House of the Dragon has an extraordinarily talented cast and crew that put their hearts and souls into the film, and we’re overjoyed with the great reception from fans.”

While the figures are difficult to compare, they are significant for HBO and HBO Max and come after a few weeks of perplexing decisions by its new corporate owners Warner Bros. Discovery. Recently, executives dumped the intended-for-HBO Max Batgirl movie into the vault, removed several programs from streaming, including some famous animated titles, and removed hundreds of Sesame Street episodes from HBO Max.

It will also have competition in the swords-and-sorcery subgenre, when Amazon’s Prime Video service debuts its own high-priced epic, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, on September 2nd. The Lord of the Rings series will premiere with two episodes at 9 p.m. ET on Thursday nights, followed by one episode per week at midnight (ET) on Friday mornings until the last episode on October 14th. House of the Dragon will air new episodes every Sunday night at 9 p.m. ET until its first season concludes on October 23rd.

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