The premiere of the “Game of Thrones“ prequel “House of the Dragon” on Sunday made history for HBO and HBO Max and drew the largest audience for any new HBO original series, with 9.986 million viewers across linear and streaming in the U.S.
Warner Bros. Discovery announced the news on Monday, citing that the premiere also marked the largest series launch on HBO Max across the United States, Latin America and the EMEA region (Europe, the Middle East, and Africa). In the U.K., the premiere pulled in 1.39 million viewers for Sky, a record for the Comcast-owned satellite TV operator, according to The Hollywood Report.
“House of the Dragon” has big shoes to fill as it is the first spin-off in the “Game of Thrones” franchise. “Game of Thrones” is a crown jewel for HBO, with its 82-minute series finale in 2019 getting 19.3 million viewers across linear viewing.
Also, the “Game of Thrones” series recently had its strongest week on HBO Max to date, the company noted yesterday. This month, the weekly average of engagement for the series is almost 50% above July and nearly 90% higher than in June.
While the premiere’s success is a win for HBO Max, analysts and investors will likely keep a close eye on the new series. It is important that audience metrics continue the momentum over the course of the 10-episode series, especially since the new Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav looks to trim down content on the service.
Zaslav has doubled down on cost-cutting measures, killing off 40 or so shows and shelving “Batgirl,” leaving many subscribers worried about what content will be left when the company merges the streaming services HBO Max and Discovery+ next year. Most recently, HBO Max took down 200 “Sesame Street” episodes (not cool, David). The newly merged company also laid off 70 employees from HBO and HBO Max.
HBO Max and its notoriously buggy app ran into issues on Sunday, with subscribers complaining about the app crashing, mainly on Amazon Fire TV devices. Twitter was flooded with people reporting the HBO Max app crashes. Amazon told Deadline that the issue is now resolved.
“House of Dragon” will have 10 episodes in total, which are released weekly. The finale will premiere on October 23.