April 19th, 2015
In a move Varys the Spider would be proud of, the first four episodes of Season 5 of â€œGame of Thronesâ€ were leaked the weekend before the premier aired, making the ratings record set by the season premier even more impressive. If HBO executives were concerned that the leak would hurt viewership numbers, their concerns were well assuaged once the numbers came rolling in.
8 million people (approximately 20 percent of the population of Westeros) watched the premier, a 17% jump from Season 4â€™s premiere record of 6.84 million viewers. At this pace, even the white walkers will be pulling up HBO Go on their tablets as the series progresses.
The showâ€™s billowing inferno of popularity â€“ in part the inspiration for HBO to create a stand-alone app â€“ is a testament to being appointment television, very little of which still exists with streaming and DVR and On Demand services. â€œGOTâ€ has created a growing community, one that is unaffected even by four episodes leaking early.
Paul Tassi of Forbes says, â€œAs one of the last true â€œeventâ€ shows on TV, the best way to consume Game of Thrones is to watch weekly, and discuss each episode as it happens. There are few moments on TV anymore that can truly unite an audience, but Game of Thrones is consistently full of them, with each character death seemingly more shocking than the last. These are moments that are best experienced collectively, if possible.â€
So, mark your calendars and tell Varys to hush, weâ€™ve got us a show to watch.