The audience has spoken. Last week’s Battle of Winterfell episode The Long Night topped HBO’s Game of Thrones ratings and scored in 17.8 million viewers across all HBO platforms. This is a series high and surpasses the record set by the Season 8 premiere Winterfell which amassed 17.4 million viewers. In terms of linear views (i.e. views on the HBO TV channel in its first airing), the episode was simultaneously watched by around 12.02 million viewers. This is another high and only second behind the Season 7 finale The Dragon and the Wolf.
HBO recently began the practice of releasing numbers across all its platforms, which was a direct consequence of multiple avenues being present to watch a single Game of Thrones episode now. With the presence of HBO GO and HBO Now, the TV channel is no longer the prime place where viewers turn to and gives less than expected numbers. Accordingly, the TV views are estimated by third party sources and while mostly accurate, it’s the 17.8 million figure that truly represents how many people watched the episode. In terms of ratings, the episode scored a 5.3 adult rating in the range of 18-49, meaning 5.3 percent of all households that tuned on their TV were watching the show. This is a rise from the 4.4 rating in a similar bracket for last week’s episode.
And all of this, is of course not considering the insane numbers lost to piracy. Within minutes of ending its broadcast, the episode was available on torrent websites in 1080p nonetheless, with seeds and leechers numbering in the hundreds of thousands downloading at any given point. It’s safe to assume if numbers all around the world were considered, pirates or legal, about 50 million people would’ve seen the Battle of Winterfell, perhaps even many more.