No more Game of Thrones overnight ratings … sort of

Giant numbers are coming
Giant numbers are coming

HBO has decided not to release their “live plus same day” ratings anymore. Quoth the three-eyed raven:

HBO subscribers have available to them an array of entry points to watch our programming – HBO linear feeds, DVR, HBO On Demand and HBO GO –and a single airing is no longer representative of an HBO show’s true audience size. Today, it is common for final gross-audience figures to grow anywhere from five to ten times viewership after an initial airing. With this in mind, starting in 2015, HBO viewership figures will first be made available by us approximately two weeks after a program’s premiere, compiling [seven days of DVR playback ratings from] Nielsen and preliminary HBO On Demand and HBO GO data.

Not a surprising move, since daily numbers mean very little – both concerning the overall popularity of the show (though there is a correlation) and the impact on HBO’s success (non-existent, since they do not run ads), as a certain someone likes to remind us. We will keep an eye on the grand total number of viewers who have seen an episode, then. Last season’s tally stands at the average of 19 million per episode.

In practice, however, this turn of events actually does not change anything much. There will be no more press releases from HBO touting the record breaking airing of the latest episode on Mondays, but come Tuesday, we should still find out about the numbers through our usual sources, since Nielsen will continue their count. Watchers on the Wall will thus be able to again play with numbers come next season, comparing them to the metrics from the past.

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  1. The amount of times I rewatch an episode is contingent upon two things: Charlotte Hope’s and Nathalie Emmanuel’s asses.

  2. From episode one season one have found only some ragged figures for foreign viewership. In fact , as far as I know, never has been , published anywhere, year end figures for worldwide viewing. DVD sales remain a mystery, seems we may get first week of sales but only domestic , have never seen worldwide DVD sales figures.

    There has always been a mystery about the domestic viewing of season 2 episode 9, Blackwater, which (and one can look on Wikipedia) shows a dip on the graph. Word of mouth and later viewing must have corrected that tick down, I just don’t believe it’s really there in the long run figures.

    I wonder how this works? HBO make a deal with Nielsen to report in such and such way? Didn’t know that could be done. Not sure were TV by the Numbers gets their numbers?

  3. Boojam: There has always been a mystery about the domestic viewing of season 2 episode 9, Blackwater, which (and one can look on Wikipedia) shows a dip on the graph

    Wasn’t that just due to the fact that it clashed with memorial weekend / NBA finals?

  4. Rygar,

    I actually had to reference the NEAI(Nathalie Emmanuel Ass Index) recently when pleading my case for warranty protection on my remote(the pause and slo-mo buttons in particular).

  5. Totally agree that this is expected news. I always thought the “first viewing”, “second viewing” and “total viewing” stats were stupid. I’m sure this is all part of HBO’s migration of their highly flexible, hopefully-reliable, standalone HBO Go service. Nielsen ratings are becoming less and less relevant and accurate in this quickly shifting marketplace. Heck, between 9PM ET live watching, 11PM ET rewatches, HBO OD, HBO Go (and whatever “a la carte” service it is becoming), iTunes, AmazonPrime, DVR, multi-friend parties on Sunday nights, theater watching, hotel viewings, torrent viewings, Oculus Rift, DVD, binge watchers, and international distribution…the refined viewing numbers should take a while to sort out.

    We need even more options.

  6. Ross: Wasn’t that just due to the fact that it clashed with memorial weekend / NBA finals?

    Yeah…but in the long run that should have self corrected and curves updated.

  7. Boojam:
    Hear Marko Roar,

    Yeah I know but they need to be they are misleading and I think wrong.

    It aired on Memorial Day weekend when barely anyone watches TV. That’s why the dip occurred. GoT makes sure to skip that weekend now because of this very reason.

    There’s no mistake. If you are making the inference that viewers later caught up with the episode by all the other means available to them, then for sure, that happened. And it’s reflected in other numbers that have been reported.

    But the number of people who watched that episode on that night at that time is exactly what was reported by Neilson and would not change over time.

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