The episode drew about 2.83 million overnight viewers for the 2 a.m. London time simulcast of the U.S. premiere on HBO and the 9 p.m. regular airing, according to overnight U.K. ratings data reported by Sky.
The season 7 premiere of Game of Thrones set a new overnight audience record for pay TV giant Sky’s Sky Atlantic network in the U.K.
The season opener drew about 2.83 million viewers for the 2 a.m. London time simulcast of the U.S. premiere on HBO and the 9 p.m. regular airing, according to overnight U.K. ratings data reported by Sky. That compared to an audience of close to 2.20 million for the season 6 opener, up 30 percent.
The combined viewership for the season 7 opener was Sky Atlantic’s biggest overnight audience ever. Experts estimated that the total audience for the season premiere could reach 4.5 million viewers when including a full week of catch-up viewing.
The company said 115,000 people stayed up to watch the simulcast live, which was the largest live audience for a Sky Atlantic simulcast ever. Including people who recorded the simulcast, 2.04 million people viewed it. In addition, 788,000 viewers watched the 9 p.m. airing.
Game of Thrones also set a record for Italy’s Sky Atlantic becoming the highest viewed premiere ever for an international show on the network. The season 7 debut brought in 570,000 viewers, an increase of 47 percent from the season 6 premiere. For Italy’s 3 a.m. simulcast, 230,000 viewers tuned in with s 15.1 percent share of the market.
Sky Italia launched a successful marketing campaign around the premiere, with a two-day event around the new season at Milan’s Sforzesco Castle. More than 25,000 people showed up over the weekend for a variety of concerts, cosplay events and performances. And more than 2,000 attendees stayed at the castle for the live 3 a.m. viewing party.
21st Century Fox owns a 39 percent stake in Sky and is looking to take full ownership in a deal unveiled in December. U.K. regulators have been reviewing the deal.