Like the Night King casually wreaking destruction wherever he chooses, “Game of Thrones” crushed another ratings record for HBO with its seventh-season finale Sunday.
The extra-long finale (which clocked in at just under 80 minutes) delivered 12.07 million viewers for its initial airing, breaking the previous series record of 10.72 million for the Aug. 13 episode. That’s an improvement of 13 percent.
In the span of seven weeks, the show surpassed its prior record for total viewers four times: with the season premiere on July 16, then in successive weeks on Aug. 6 and 13, and finally with the closer Sunday night. Every episode of Season 7 brought in a bigger audience than the biggest one for all of Seasons 1-6 — the Season 6 finale drew 8.89 million people.
In adults 18-49, the finale delivered a 5.7 rating, also a series high. The previous best was 5.0 two weeks ago.
Including night-of streaming on HBO Go and HBO Now, the finale drew 16.5 million viewers, per the channel. That’s also a record, up a tick from the 16.1 million cumulative night-of viewers for the season premiere.
HBO also says through six episodes Season 7 has gathered a massive 30.6 million viewers per episode across all platforms (including streaming, DVR viewing, on-demand and on-air replays). That’s a 31 percent improvement over Season 6’s 23.3 million, and the gap will likely widen once the multiplatform finale numbers trickle in. (Linear viewership for initial airings is up 33 percent season to season, 7.69 million for Season 6 t0 10.26 million this year.)
HBO has about 49 million subscribers in the United States, which means roughly two-thirds of them watch “Game of Thrones.” It’s the most-watched series in the channel’s history, having passed the high-water mark for “The Sopranos” (18.2 million in 2002, without the aid of streaming) in Season 4.