The fifth-season opener adds 1.4 million same-day viewers from its year-ago haul.
More and more viewers are playing Game of Thrones. The HBO series returned to a new series high on Sunday night, averaging just a touch under 8 million viewers.
That’s up 1.4 million from its 2014 premiere and up 800,000 from its previously most-watched episode to date, which aired on May 18 last year. Game of Thrones‘ ratings have been on the rise consistently since its 2011 premiere — and last summer it became the most-watched series in HBO history, nabbing 19.1 million gross weekly viewers.
The aggregate stat, which includes DVR, HBO Go, On Demand and encores, is one reason why HBO won’t likely be bragging about Sunday’s record. The network opted out of reporting or confirming its own same-day ratings back in January, as they don’t show the whole picture.
But a record is a record. And Game of Thrones‘ immense premiere haul is destined to grow considerably — especially now that the pay cable network has launched over-the-top streamer HBO Now.