The season 8 premiere of Game of Thrones (GoT) is shattering viewership records around the world, and what’s new? Arguably the biggest show on TV/web at the moment, Winterfell (S08E01) was reportedly watched by a staggering 17.8 million people, beating HBO’s previous record of 16.9 million which also belonged to the finale of the seventh season of GoT. The one where the dragon breached THE wall in the North? Yes. This number of 17.8 million viewers includes those watching it on TV, online platforms around the world. And a sizeable chunk comes from India.
Hotstar has for long been the platform to showcase HBO originals in India, and it has struck gold with the latest GoT season. The premiere has reportedly enabled the OTT platform’s monthly active users (MAUs) to surge beyond an all-time-high of 300 million, which is a 4x growth since the last quarter of 2017 (a reported 75 million). The major reasons for this surge has been for the Disney-owned platform’s decision to simulcast the latest season as it plays in the United States of America. Also the Jio-led boom, that has drastically reduced data prices in India, has contributed to video consumption like never before.
“In just two years, per capita data usage has shot up 12 times on account of video streaming. Today, an average Indian viewer already spends two and a half hours on video every day. In the next five years, it is set to double to five hours/day,” Chairman of Star & Disney India, Uday Shankar, was quoted by YourStory at the Disney Global Investor Summit. Along with GoT, Hotstar’s another big bet that is reaping rich dividends is the IPL.
Previously shown on a premium version on Star World in India, this season has been aggressively pushed through the web platform. And the results are for everyone to see.
Taking off in 2011, David Beinoff & D.B Weiss’s show has slowly evolved into the biggest show on the planet. Based on the original text by George R R Martin’s book A Song Of Ice & Fire, the show formed an intoxicating cocktail of sex scenes, gruesome deaths and intriguing courtroom politics. Seven years and with the show’s eighth season underway, GoT‘s scale and budget is challenged only by Netflix’s The Crown. Each episode of season 8 costs a reported $15 million, compared to The Crown‘s $12 million per episode for its second season.
Season 8 will conclude Game of Thrones, and the last episode will be aired on May 19, 2019.