The Long (Dragon) Tail: Game of Thrones & Time-Shifting


Corey Rice
Content Marketing Strategist
Jun 18, 2019

HBO audiences remain highly engaged with the final season

through time-shifted viewing

The curtain has dropped on the final season of Game of Thrones, bringing to an end what is perhaps the most popular TV program of the last decade. However this does not mean viewers have stopped watching season eight; in fact Samba TV’s analysis of time-shifted viewership found quite the opposite.

Modern viewers are 100% in control of when, where and how they consume TV content, forcing networks and broadcasters to adjust their business models in order to engage with viewers on their own terms. Case in point: for years HBO consistently and emphatically claimed it was not considering a standalone streaming option.

However, HBO’s decision to launch HBO Now in April of 2015  (just days before GoT’s fifth season premiere) was a bet that has clearly paid off in dividends. The streaming platform directly targeted cord cutters and opened the network’s premium content to any and all viewers – even those that lacked a cable or HBO subscription – and currently boasts 8 million subscribers.

At first glance a program with the massive popularity of Game of Thrones seems like a lock for appointment viewing, and while many fans certainly watched each episode live, Samba TV’s analysis shows that time-shifted viewing was prevalent across the entire season and still continues well past the May 19th finale.

Game of Thrones: Time-shifting Trends

Time-shifted Game of Thrones viewership for the final season remains substantial – episode two had the highest gains and picked-up 141% net-new viewership between Live+Same Day and Live+28 Days. The premiere also has consistent time-shifting viewership gains with 99% net-new viewership growth between Live+Same Day and Live+35 Days; five weeks after its airing, viewers were still watching the season’s first episode.

See Samba TV’s Game of Thrones time-shifting analysis below and be sure to download our season seven insights report.

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