Josef Adalian of Vulture is reporting figures from HBO which show that Game of Thrones is averaging 13.6 million viewers per episode. This is higher than True Blood‘s high of 13.0 million and just below The Sopranos‘ 14.4 million. Here is a handy chart:
Adalian provides a helpful breakdown of just what the above numbers entail. It is something that we have discussed many times before here, but is worth a refresher:
As noted above, the show is averaging around 5 million viewers for its 9 p.m. Sunday play on HBO. But like most HBO series — as well as a slew of other basic and pay cable shows — that first telecast reps just a small portion of the eventual audience for each episode. For example, the instant encore of GoT that airs at 11 p.m. Sunday can add more than a million more viewers to the tally. The number goes up by about another third when everyone who recorded the show on DVR finally plays it back. The countless repeats on HBO and its so-called “multiplex” channels (HBO2, HBO Latino) boost viewership by about 15 percent, while folks who watch an episode on demand add a similar amount to the final tally. Finally, those who like their GoT carnage on the streaming app HBO GO tack on another 6 percent. Add it all up, and GoT nearly triples its initial audience, ending up with the aforementioned 13.6 million total viewers.
Adalian also notes that HBO has provided the Thrones viewer breakdowns by gender: 57 percent male, 43 percent female. This tracks with what Wired uncovered from perusing Nielsen’s data. Take that, New York Times!
What does this all mean? It means that this show is very, very popular. And given the buzz from the Red Wedding, I expect that popularity will continue to grow. Could the show grow enough to topple The Sopranos as most-watched HBO show ever? At this point, I wouldn’t bet against it.