HBO’s hit fantasy series Game of Thrones is one of those rare pop culture phenomena that only come around once every generation. Normally, any dragon, swordplay, and magic-filled fantasy epic would be relegated to the confines of niche geek audiences and second-tier cable networks. However, HBO’s series is a sexy, witty, slickly-produced show featuring an amazing, diverse cast and huge production values rivaling many Hollywood feature films. Game of Thrones has become one of the most-watched series in television history and has inspired many cultural memes that have spread around the globe like wildfire. The highly anticipated seventh season of Game of Thrones debuted this week and true to its phenomenal popularity, the premiere shattered several streaming records.
Variety reports that the season seven premiere is now the most-watched season premiere for any HBO series and boasts the highest number of streaming viewers on HBO GO and HBO NOW. A total of 16.1 million viewers watched the premiere, up 50% from last year’s season six premiere. 10.1 million watched on HBO cable or satellite networks, while 6 million watched the premiere on a streaming site. So many viewers streamed the premiere, in fact, that HBO’s servers went down in the middle of the premiere. During the East Coast premiere, many users reported receiving an error message or long buffering times when they attempted to stream the episode, a problem which persisted for several hours and was highly shared on Twitter.
Aside from streaming records, the episode also broke Twitter records for the incredible volume of Tweets users sent out while watching the season seven premiere. 2.4 million tweets with various Game of Thrones hashtags went out during the premiere, 7% of which were screeds against the controversial Ed Sheeran cameo the episode featured.
The seventh season of HBO’s Game of Thrones premiered July 16, 2017 and will run through August 27, 2017. HBO can be streamed cable-free through HBO NOW.