Ratings dip for episode 19
By Winter Is Coming on in News.

James Hibberd has the numbers for this past Sunday’s episode of Game of Thrones. The initial airing was viewed by 3.4 million viewers, down 13% from last week’s 3.9 million. As James notes, this drop is likely due to the Memorial Day holiday, where historically overall TV viewership drops around 20%.

UPDATE: TVByTheNumbers has the exact figures: 3.384 million for the 9PM airing and 863k for the 11PM repeat, for a total of 4.247 million viewers for the night.

Also, HBO has provided Hibberd with an updated total viewers per episode number: it stands now at 10.3 million. Thrones is still the third-most watched series in HBO’s history, and is inching closer to the number two spot, currently held by True Blood.

Winter Is Coming: No reason to panic here, folks. I expected a drop due to the holiday. Thanks to all the positive buzz off of this episode, plus the fact that finales usually have an uptick in viewers, I expect we will cross that 4 million barrier next week.


248 Comments

  1. Matt S
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Not gonna lie, disappointed about these numbers. Though mostly because I have no idea what Memorial Day is and why it would effect ratings.

  2. Wes
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Ouch. lol

    Not that it matters much. I know the show is doing fine, but for some reason I’m just rooting for it to cross that milestone.

    For fun only, if we assume that viewership dropped by 20% due to Memorial Day in the US, then we “know” that it really achieved a 4.25 million viewership! (or would have if this week hadn’t been a holiday).

  3. Alan
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    It’s not just Memorial Day. I know this effect can be overstated, but the NBA Finals Game 1 started at 830pm EST this week and drew 7.7M. In contrast, last week it the NBA game only conflicted with the West Coast and drew about 4.4M.

    So there’s likely some movement there. I watched both live but I’m out west.

    Hope we see a rebound next week.

  4. Superdeluxe
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Yeah, nothing to worry about. What is going to be key is the DVR/On Demand viewings.

    Now back to our regular casting speculation

  5. Winter Is Coming
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Matt S, It’s a national holiday in the US and it gives everyone a 3-day weekend. It’s also the unofficial start to summer, and lots of people use the long weekend to take trips to the shore, mountains, etc. Less people at home = less people watching this episode on initial viewing. I’m sure people will catch up during the week and the finale numbers should be back up to the usual levels (and hopefully higher).

  6. Flow101
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Well, where I live we don’t celebrate this “Memorial Day” so this really caught me by surprise.
    They even advertised this episode and still there was a drop…

    Oh well, my hopes that GoT would reach 4 million viewers will have to wait for the next season.

  7. Superdeluxe
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    People typically go camping/hold outdoor events during Memorial day in the states. It is the start of the summer camping season. Nothing to be worried about.

    Matt S:
    Not gonna lie, disappointed about these numbers. Though mostly because I have no idea what Memorial Day is and why it would effect ratings.

  8. Tyrion's Nose
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Wow. I didn’t see that coming.

  9. Chris Peterson
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    I expect ratings will hit 4.1 or 4.2 next week. Any real ratings gains will likely come between this season and the next.

  10. serum
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    not worried about it, the greatest show on tv wont be affected by a few people missing the ep due to the holiday, at any rate, they will see it during the week and the weekly numbers are more important than initial airing numbers

  11. Alan
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Matt S:
    Not gonna lie, disappointed about these numbers. Though mostly because I have no idea what Memorial Day is and why it would effect ratings.

    Memorial Day is a National Holiday in the US to remember those who have died fighting in wartime. Monday is off work for anyone not in retail/restaurants and the fact that it generally coincides with the arrival of good weather means a lot of barbecues, outdoor activities and the such.

    It’s also the first three day weekend in the US since February, so a ton of people do weekend trips. Cities like New York and San Francisco tend to empty out as people head to the Hamptons or Lake Tahoe.

    Staying home and barbecueing or heading out, the result is the same, not as many people watch TV Sunday night.

  12. Knurk
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I’m not panicking but that 20% excuse is rubbish, Mad Men even climbed in its ratings and I seem to remember last year’s Memorial Day didn’t affect the ratings that much.

  13. Flow101
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Alan:
    It’s not just Memorial Day.I know this effect can be overstated, but the NBA Finals Game 1 started at 830pm EST this week and drew 7.7M.In contrast, last week it the NBA game only conflicted with the West Coast and drew about 4.4M.

    So there’s likely some movement there.I watched both live but I’m out west.

    Hope we see a rebound next week.

    The NBA finals haven’t started yet, they are still on the Conference Finals.

  14. Matt S
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Winter Is Coming,

    Ah I see, I sometimes forget it’s summer over there since winter is actually coming over here (tomorrow in fact) makes sense I guess though if I were in the US nothing would stop me from watching GoT live.

  15. lewis
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    there is absolutely no NBA Finals going on lol you might mean the conference finals but it isnt the FINALS yet so i dont think the conference finals would take that many viewers

    Alan:
    It’s not just Memorial Day.I know this effect can be overstated, but the NBA Finals Game 1 started at 830pm EST this week and drew 7.7M.In contrast, last week it the NBA game only conflicted with the West Coast and drew about 4.4M.

    So there’s likely some movement there.I watched both live but I’m out west.

    Hope we see a rebound next week.

  16. Wes
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Matt S:
    Not gonna lie, disappointed about these numbers. Though mostly because I have no idea what Memorial Day is and why it would effect ratings.

    It’s a US holiday meant to honor the men and women who died in wars. It originally started after the American Civil War (which ended in 1865). Anyway, most people also use it as their first early summer holiday. It’s a mandatory day-off for most businesses, so most people have a three-day weekend. Families and neighbors get together and have cookouts or reunions and things like that. Perhaps some go to bed early to wake up early, others might spend the whole long-weekend away.

  17. sjwenings
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Last year, we lost just 40 000 during memorial day (from the previous ep) and this time we loose half a million??

    I dunno. Can’t say I like it. we’ll see how the finale is doing. The show has been remarkably consistent all season up til now.

  18. Flow101
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Knurk:
    I’m not panicking but that 20% excuse is rubbish, Mad Men even climbed in its ratings and I seem to remember last year’s Memorial Day didn’t affect the ratings that much.

    Yeah, last year there wasn’t a big drop in ratings like this one.

  19. Alan
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    Knurk:
    I’m not panicking but that 20% excuse is rubbish, Mad Men even climbed in its ratings and I seem to remember last year’s memorial Day didn’t affect the ratings that much.

    20% seems high. That said, Memorial Day may or may not have affected ratings last year.

    They didn’t drop drastically from the week before — from 2.44 M to 2.40 M — that’s true.

    But two weeks before that (Ep 5), the show hit 2.58M (-7% from Week 4 to Memorial Day) and the next week the show shot up to 2.72 (+13%).

    Perhaps Episode 6 was just a bad week and Episode 7 was Memorial Day? Dunno.

    I think things like Memorial Day and the such can be overstated, but last year (or Mad Men) is hardly conclusive of the effect either way.

    Next week will be a big indicator.

  20. Josh
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Considering most people go away for the holiday, the ratings dip is no surprise. Expect a rise in HBOGo and Ondemand and repeat viewings…And expect BIG numbers for the finale.

    I’ll step back now and avoid the chaos that will ensue because of the ratings dip.

  21. Draig
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Off topic but If you look at the Valar Morghulis trailer and pause you can see Osha getting up from somewhere with a stone direwolf in the Winterfell courtyard by her side. The statue looks charred and burned, thus implying that the sack of Winterfell will take place afterall.

  22. Daniel Griffin
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Sad, because it was probably one of the best episodes yet.

  23. Alan
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    lewis:
    there is absolutely no NBA Finals going on lol you might mean the conference finals but it isnt the FINALS yet so i dont think the conference finals would take that many viewers

    Yes, you are both right, it’s the conference finals. You people are very angry about a minor error. Regardless, Kevin Durant and the old men on San Antonio pulled in nearly 8M viewers at the same time.

    I know the traditional view is of Game of Thrones as geek fare, but in my circle at least we watch both these things.

  24. sjwenings
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Would be interesting to know the numbers for the second viewing. Any idea if they will be made official as usual?

  25. Varamyr Fourskins
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Let’s just say, most of my neighbors were gone last weekend for Memorial Day (and surely, they weren’t the only ones).

    Granted, I have no clue how someone who calls themselves a GoT fan could’ve possibly missed “Blackwater”, but I suppose some of the more casual fans probably didn’t realize what they were in for (or just didn’t care. Vacation > TV, every time).

    So, look for the numbers to spike for e10. With the massive buzz “Blackwater” received, it should draw enough interest to push the finale over 4.0 (similar to the buzz “Baelor” received last season).

  26. Roger Kevin Dering
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    People are idiots…

  27. Knurk
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    I do think the NBA is the biggest factor here (like Alan said), they had 7.7 million viewers for the 8.30 game (vs the 4.4 they had at 10.30 last week) and that number will rise next week with the more popular teams Miami vs. Boston will be on at 8.30 ET. I’m going to be a bit pessimistic here and say we won’t reach the 4 million mark this season.

  28. SillyMammo
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    I’m guilty of watching it later due to the Memorial Day Weekend. Had a cookout with friends Sunday and watched it on my DVR later that night.

  29. Alan
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    sjwenings:
    Would be interesting to know the numbers for the second viewing. Any idea if they will be made official as usual?

    Was down as well. It’s lower on the list on TV by the Numbers.

    Actually, if anything is concerning, it’s the 10.3 number. That seems down from earlier this year and what they’ve stated before.

    It’s going to be very hard to grow this audience in season. I hope we recovery in Ep 10, strong DVD sales again and another 1M leap for Season 3 Ep 1.

  30. Knurk
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    sjwenings,

    863.000

  31. Flow101
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Knurk:
    I do think the NBA is the biggest factor here (like Alan said), they had 7.7 million viewers for the 8.30 game (vs the 4.4 they had at 10.30 last week) and that number will rise next week with the more popular teams Miami vs. Boston will be on at 8.30 ET. I’m going to be a bit pessimistic here and say we won’t reach the 4 million mark this season.

    If the Heat keep dominating the Celtics, people will lose interest in the games and will probably tune in on GoT!…or I hope they do…

  32. Omar Brown
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Did we also get the repeat view numbers? Surely those mustve been good, everyone I know saw the episode at least twice.

    Edit: Read the update, oh well, such is life.

  33. RitariKnight
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Alan
    Next week will be a big indicator.

    No it won’t . Initial airing viewer numbers are not important. They are a curiosity at best. People still make too much of GoT ratings, and there’s way too much emphasis on them here. HBO is a pay TV channel and it does not need ratings info at all. Network channels and basic cable need them because ratings determine their income.

  34. garik16
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Called it. There was a dip on Baelor too. Ep 10 will benefit from this.

  35. Ivan Jurić
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    well….that sucks.

  36. Pepi
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    No reason for panic and yet I find myself panicking … :D

  37. Felagund
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    It is clearly the NBA playoff, which has been moved to interfere with the show, just look at the numbers:

    NBA
    last week: 4,4 million (started 10:30 PM)
    this week: 7,8 million (started 8:30 PM (!!!)) – UP 3,4 million!!!

    GoT:
    last week: 3,9 million (started 9:00 PM)
    this week: 3,4 million (started 9:00 PM) – DOWN 0,5 million

    In light of these data I would say Thrones has done exceptionally well, rather than failed!

  38. Josh
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Also just need to add…that the article states 20% is the average drop off…add to the fact that we had a million and half more average viewers then last year, these ratings mean VERY little…

  39. paylor
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    I even couldn’t watch the first showing of the episode. This is someone who doesn’t answer the phone or let anyone ask any questions during the episode. I usually time it so I’ll be home to watch it at 6 on Sundays, but this week I was in the mountains with friends.

    So, I’m not surprised.

  40. Winter Is Coming
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    sjwenings, just added them to the post.

  41. sjwenings
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Knurk: 863.000

    Well, ok. So – unlike the first airing numbers – the repeat viewings are on average, then. Thats… something.

  42. The Kingslayer
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    Hopefully word of mouth catches on and people watch the repeats of the episode. It was easily the best episode in the whole two seasons, they need to bring back Neil Marshall to direct The Red Wedding, Attack On The Wall, Purple Wedding or The Red Viper vs. The Mountain !!!!!!!!!!

  43. Alan
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I think Marshall’s edge over someone like Alan Taylor is in action, so I’d love to see him tackle the the two wall battles.

  44. WompWomp
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    I remember some people predicting lower ratings for “Blackwater” based on the reception of “The Prince of Winterfell,” which was a slow-burning episode with less momentum to catapult the viewership into this week.

  45. ...
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    O-oh.. If next week’s episode doesn’t reach 4 mill I’m going to be concerned! Watch the show people.

  46. The Others
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I don’t know to what extent Memorial Day affected the ratings, but it makes sense it had at least a slight effect. In my house there are normally 3-4 viewers each Sunday night, but due to the holiday weekend I was the only one watching this past Sunday. As a result, there will be more On Demand viewings as my roommates catch up during the week. I assume this was not an isolated case of people missing the initial as well as encore Sunday night airings due to the holiday weekend.

  47. Varamyr Fourskins
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Draig,

    I went and did the same thing after reading your post, but in my opinion, the wolf statue doesn’t appear to be burned. Could be wrong about that, but that’s my take.

  48. paylor
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    It’s kind of surprising that the best episode of the season got the lowest ratings of the season. Still, overall it’s up a million viewers over last season. I’m hoping the buzz for this episode will put next weeks over 4 million.

  49. ANiceChianti
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    The Kingslayer: Purple Wedding

    I’ve never heard it referred to in this way before.

    Literally laughed out loud once I realized what you were talking about!

  50. Khal Dorko
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    I had to wait until Monday morning to watch via HBOGo. Didn’t watch the DVRed one on TV until last night. Many others were in this boat this week so I am not concerned

  51. Tre Svatek
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Varamyr Fourskins,

    Well I “missed” it and I call myself a big ASOIAF fan.

    Every year I go on a 5 day canoe/camping trip over the memorial day weekend. I can wait the extra day to go out and socialize with friends. Apparently that makes me not a real fan though…

  52. RamsaySnow
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    The episode written by Martin having the biggest drop in ratings. I wonder, I wonder… And people were abusing me, when I said in the Recap thread that Martin’s huge deviations from the source material were really over the top.

    If we want to get ratings back up again, HBO must in following days advertise the season finale with a slogan “NOT WRITTEN BY GEORGE R.R. MARTIN”. A lot of avid fans, book purists, will again tune in, and not spend the evening with mosquitos by some lake.

  53. dizzy_34
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    The Hatfields and McCoys miniseries probably had something to do with this too. Those were monster numbers.

  54. LordStarkington
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Tre Svatek:
    Varamyr Fourskins,

    Well I “missed” it and I call myself a big ASOIAF fan.

    Every year I go on a 5 day canoe/camping trip over the memorial day weekend. I can wait the extra day to go out and socialize with friends. Apparently that makes me not a real fan though…

    Burn him! Burn him! R’hllor must be appeased!

    Anyway, between the holiday and NBA game, it really doesn’t matter. The reaction to this episode has been INCREDIBLY positive.

  55. Josh Parker
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Looks like some are panicking anyway, or at least are “concerned”. I’m not sure why. Season 3 is already approved and it’s not like, if Season 3′s numbers hold steady and sales of Season 2 on DVD are high, HBO’s gonna say “yeah, but there was this big dip in ratings back in season 2…so, no season 4. Sorry.”

  56. The Kingslayer
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    ANiceChianti,

    I saw it referred that way on IMDB’s forum, it’s pretty accurate though lol.

  57. Varamyr Fourskins
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Tre Svatek,

    I said Vacation > TV, so I don’t fault you for that. And as you said, you can always get it on demand.

    My point was, it’s just the most epic GoT episode ever. So, it was poor timing that it had to fall on a holiday weekend.

  58. death to lannisters
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

    People tune in according to how the last show was. So if ratings dipped when this episode aired, it’s more likely to be an indictment of the last episode, not of this one.

    Also, ratings measures are horribly out of date. They need to get out of the 50s on this one. Neilson doesn’t account for people who watch things online, or DVR/Tivo them which is how most people watch their shows of choice these days anyhow (some measurements account for viewers that DVR and then watch within 24 hours, but I don’t know of any that measure beyond that, say, at the 36 hour mark).

    It’s probably the simple fact that this past Sunday was part of the long Memorial Day weekend and people weren’t at home watching TV as on most Sundays – they were away for the weekend, or at dinner with friends, or whatever. This Sunday was more like a typical Saturday night, and I would guess that ratings across the board would reflect that, not just for this show. And it’s late May, it was generally nice weather in the country, kids are done with school … TV habits change. I’ll bet if they could include all the DVR recordings of the show, ratings would spike to or beyond the norm.

    It has nothing to do with GRRM writing the episode, or the advertisement thereof.

  59. death to lannisters
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Tre Svatek: Every year I go on a 5 day canoe/camping trip over the memorial day weekend.

    My point exactly. I know this stuff. I’m in the TV biz.

  60. Darth Valyria
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    dizzy_34,

    That’s depressing. ;)

  61. Varamyr Fourskins
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    death to lannisters,

    That’s a good point, actually. The buzz from “Blackwater” will get a lot of people interested. I mean, when I read a headline that says “Best. TV. Ever.”, it generally grabs my attention. So, if anything I think a lot more people will tune in just to see what the buzz is all about (granted, HBO’s subscription format might limit the number, but we should see an increase from the usual 3.9).

  62. Jaime Lannister
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

    death to lannisters,

    Agreed (with your answer, not your blasphemous name).

    Let’s face it: episode eight was, for a series of this caliber, “not very good.” It was absurdly slow for the amount of jumping around it suffered, and ultimately next to nothing happened. That was a mistake.

    Factor in everything else, and yeah… a slight drop is to be expected.

  63. iRaven
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    I’ll just say that I was out of state, over 100 miles away from home on a family trip Sunday, and I drove home early to watch Blackwater. And have since watched it an additional 5 times.

  64. Knurk
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    dizzy_34:
    The Hatfields and McCoys miniseries probably had something to do with this too. Those were monster numbers.

    that was monday, or am I wrong?

  65. Alan
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    Josh Parker:
    Looks like some are panicking anyway, or at least are “concerned”. I’m not sure why. Season 3 is already approved and it’s not like, if Season 3′s numbers hold steady and sales of Season 2 on DVD are high, HBO’s gonna say “yeah, but there was this big dip in ratings back in season 2…so, no season 4. Sorry.”

    Yeah, this is only an issue if it were a long term trend. Even the Season 3 budget is probably pretty set, which is actually where the hit would come first with a show like this (not cancellation). I suppose there could be a situation where it affect a Blackwater-like budget request, but HBO is not regular TV.

    That said, I’ve been around enough people with profit pressure to know that sometimes people will grasp onto anyone to cut costs.

  66. Lord Of Lite
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    My concern is that GOT has a big fat target on it’s back now. A&E has a new series that appears to be meant for casual non book reading viewers. Some sheriff in the modern day west. It’s premiere just so happened fall in GOT’s time slot(Yeah, right). There is a new mini-series with Costner and Paxton that premiered on Memorial Day. I wouldn’t be surprised to see that fall back into GOT’s time slot if it shows signs of life. Survivor and Amazing Race seemed to have tried to jerk viewers away from GOT with its finales. The networks are all pulling scheduling tricks and such. Everybody’s gunning for us people.

  67. Isabella
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    Memorial Day weekend is also a big time for weddings, graduations, reunions etc. (My college always holds commencement and the reunions this weekend.)

    Of the gang I usually watch with, more than half were gone at these kinds of events. Since I’m the only one with HBO, they’re now nagging me to let them come over and watch it.

  68. death to lannisters
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Jaime Lannister,

    I actually liked episode 8. i found it moving (emotionally). but then again I’m not exactly a blood and guts kinda gal. (so why am I watching this show you may ask? for the characters … somehow it’s got me hooked. and it’s deep look at power and personality dynamics. this stuff is applicable anywhere – not just in medieval fantasy. and the greater themes of good, evil and honor).

    Perhaps Jamie will redeem himself to me in the future. We’ll see. So far I regard him as a total creep from hell, but enough people on here have hinted that there’s something other to come.

    So I’ll hold off on insulting the identity you’ve taken allegiance with.

    No spoilers please.

  69. Nagga's Kin
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    http://tvbythenumbers.com still has the Live+SD numbers from last Sunday up as well, if someone wants to double-check if Hibberd’s 20% number is actually correct.

    Is it possible that the Nielsen numbers are skewed toward families? If so, are those more likely to use three-day weekends to get out of dodge?

    A number of commenters have also pointed to the NBA conference finals. Perhaps active and retired servicemen and -women just weren’t in the mood for an hour-long fantasy battle extravaganza on Memorial weekend itself.

  70. Petyr
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

    I was at my parents for the holiday and we had a bunch of people over to watch. People from 6 different households who normally watch it at their own homes were all at my parents.

  71. dizzy_34
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Knurk,

    I believe it was Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. And lets not forget MERMAIDS! Seriously, this is nothing to be concerned about. Heck even my wife asked me Sunday night if Game of Thrones was going to be on this week due to the holiday? Just wasn’t on as many peoples radar due to the holiday. Too much beer, BBQ and holiday fun. I’m with Winter, we’ll see a big jump this Sunday.

  72. RitariKnight
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    Alan: Yeah, this is only an issue if it were a long term trend.Even the Season 3 budget is probably pretty set, which is actually where the hit would come first with a show like this (not cancellation).I suppose there could be a situation where it affect a Blackwater-like budget request, but HBO is not regular TV.

    Initial airing ratings won’t affect anything on HBO, even if they went down permanently and/or never rose above 4 million. HBO offers it’s subscribers several different ways of watching it’s shows and the initial airing is only one of them and not special in any way. HBO is not a network channel nor is it a basic cable channel either; it does not have commercials; it is a premium cable channel which requires people to pay for it specifically if they want to watch it’s programming. Ratings are a pricing tool for commercials on network and basic cable channels. Nothing more. HBO does not do any kind of decisions on it’s shows based on initial airing ratings. If and when there is a situation where HBO needs to consider cancelling one of it’s shows, full viewer numbers are only one aspect of the things they take into account in making the decision, initial airing viewer numbers don’t factor in at all. Therefore it is pointless to speculate about a show’s future in any way based on initial airing ratings.

    The Season 3 budget is definitely set and has been for months already.

  73. Steven Swanson
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    RitariKnight: No it won’t . Initial airing viewer numbers are not important. They are a curiosity at best. People still make too much of GoT ratings, and there’s way too much emphasis on them here. HBO is a pay TV channel and it does not need ratings info at all. Network channels and basic cable need them because ratings determine their income.

    This.

  74. Peppe
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    ANiceChianti: I’ve never heard it referred to in this way before.

    Literally laughed out loud once I realized what you were talking about!

    What the hell is purple wedding?!?

  75. Steven Swanson
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    RamsaySnow: The episode written by Martin having the biggest drop in ratings. I wonder, I wonder… And people were abusing me, when I said in the Recap thread that Martin’s huge deviations from the source material were really over the top.If we want to get ratings back up again, HBO must in following days advertise the season finale with a slogan “NOT WRITTEN BY GEORGE R.R. MARTIN”. A lot of avid fans, book purists, will again tune in, and not spend the evening with mosquitos by some lake.

    Even Ramsay wasn’t this lame.

  76. serum
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Peppe,

    joffreys death at his wedding cause he chokes, hahahaha, little prick bastard, cant wait to see that on tv

  77. Arthur
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Steven Swanson,

    Lol… People usally tune out because of previous episodes. You really got it backwards. You think people can see the episode in their minds before it airs and choose not to watch it? That’s pretty funny dude…

    Edit: meant for Ramseysnow not Steven.

  78. Steven Swanson
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Peppe: What the hell is purple wedding?!?

    Joffrey-Magraery (picture Joffrey’s face).

  79. Udi
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Matt S,

    Winter is coming?

  80. ANiceChianti
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Peppe,

    Joffrey’s wedding

  81. Isabella
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Memorial Day weekend is also a big time for weddings, graduations, reunions etc.

    Of the gang I usually watch with, more than half were gone at these kinds of events. Since I’m the only one with HBO, they’re now nagging me to let them come over and watch it.

  82. patryn0
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Dooooom DOOOOOOOOOOM Panic.

  83. Dennis
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    I for one did not watch GoT until 3 am the following morning when my drunk behind came home ;)
    The ratings look pretty damn good to me considering in my circle alone there were prolly about 10 folks who watched it later due to social obligations this past weekend.

  84. freyar_88
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Genuinely surprised by that. But not worried.

  85. Udi
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    SillyMammo,

    WHAAAAAAT?!!!
    HOW COULD YOU?!
    Hope you had a good time :)
    Now go watch it 1000 times and no hot dogs for you until winter comes!

  86. jack
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    NBA finals…from san antonio…was watching the SA Spurs dominate…although GOT is my favorite show.

  87. Lord Of Lite
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Peppe,

    Block Your Spoiler Quote Of A Blocked Spoiler.

  88. jon
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    I watch it on DVR around 10pm, do I get counted?

  89. Alan
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    RitariKnight: Initial airing ratings won’t affect anything on HBO, even if they went down permanently and/or never rose above 4 million. HBO offers it’s subscribers several different ways of watching it’s shows and the initial airing is only one of them and not special in any way. HBO is not a network channel nor is it a basic cable channel either; it does not have commercials; it is a premium cable channel which requires people to pay for it specifically if they want to watch it’s programming. Ratings are a pricing tool for commercials on network and basic cable channels. Nothing more. HBO does not do any kind of decisions on it’s shows based on initial airing ratings. If and when there is a situation where HBO needs to consider cancelling one of it’s shows, full viewer numbers are only one aspect of the things they take into account in making the decision, initial airing viewer numbers don’t factor in at all. Therefore it is pointless to speculate about a show’s future in any way based on initial airing ratings.

    The Season 3 budget is definitely set and has been for months already.

    Yes, I’m aware. But since there’s a very strong correlation between initial ratings and overall viewership, this is a useful proxy. The 10M number is more relevant for calculating such things as profit, etc., but movements in the initial airing number are followed closely by movements in total viewing.

    Memorial Day could be an exception to that, of course, which is exactly why I said if this is a long term trend, it would be concerning. Because a permanent loss of half a million people from the initial airing almost certainly reflects a million-plus loss from overall rather than some seismic shift to on demand, repeat or HBO GO viewing patterns.

    It’s simply much more likely that people start or stop watching a program than they change their style of viewing suddenly but permanently.

    This kind of drop would absolutely be concerning if repeated. I have little doubt that when HBO chose to report total viewership, they would be done in that scenario.

    But that has neither happened nor seems likely.

    ————

    On the budget, while I’m sure it is set, I’m also sure there will be overrun approvals (asking for more money) or the unlikely potential for something unfilmed to get downscaled (say, Jon’s final sequence of Season 3).

    That said, even two bad ratings in a row seems unlikely to spook HBO unless there’s a bigger business issue out there. I’ve long thought the biggest risk to Game is general HBO profitability issues rather than Game itself.

  90. RitariKnight
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    jon:
    I watch it on DVR around 10pm, do I get counted?

    No. Because if you were a Nielsen viewer, you’d know and wouldn’t need to ask.

  91. Chris
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    As someone who usually religiously watches every Sunday but didn’t due to being out of town last weekend, I think these numbers are understandable. Also, living in the Pacific Northwest, I don’t know anyone who wasn’t camping / traveling / or doing something that would take them away from their normal TV schedule.

  92. Hi-Fi
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Isabella:
    Memorial Day weekend is also a big time for weddings, graduations, reunions etc.

    Of the gang I usually watch with, more than half were gone at these kinds of events.Since I’m the only one with HBO, they’re now nagging me to let them come over and watch it.

    Don’t let them. They made their choice.

  93. DH87
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    dizzy_34: The Hatfields and McCoys miniseries probably had something to do with this too. Those were monster numbers.

    I believe Hatfields and McCoys debuted on Monday, not Sunday, night. Nonetheless we know that male-skewing shows like BE and GOT are not going to do well up against live U.S. major sporting events. Add in the long hours of daylight on the Memorial Day weekend and good weather in most of the major U.S. viewing markets and we’ve probably hit on the factors, none of which have to do with the show itself.

  94. DH87
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    RitariKnight: Ratings are a pricing tool for commercials on network and basic cable channels. Nothing more. HBO does not do any kind of decisions on it’s shows based on initial airing ratings

    Agreed, but as we’ve discussed here before, initial ratings do have an impact on the basic cable stations’ interest in buying the show (stripped of LSVN) for distribution to basic cable customers, and that income does figure into HBO’s model/projections of profitability, particularly since HBO no longer waits for its shows to complete their run before flogging them (TB was shopped after S2 for $800,000 per ep, I believe, but with no takers).

  95. DH87
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    Knurk: I’m going to be a bit pessimistic here and say we won’t reach the 4 million mark this season.

    Perhaps yet another reason to seek out those elusive female viewers? We are not spirited away by the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, MLB, or the CTL (Competitive Tiddlywinks League).

  96. John Webster
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    Ugh.

    People really need to straighten out their priorities.

    ;)

    Seriously, though, I’m bummed about this. Blackwater really was a huge event, and it’s cruel that it ends up with the lowest ratings of the season. That’s just screwed up.

  97. Steven Swanson
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    DH87: Perhaps yet another reason to seek out those elusive female viewers? We are not spirited away by the NFL, the NBA, the NHL, MLB, or the CTL (Competitive Tiddlywinks League).

    You really don’t know any female sports fans? I’ve had several female Facebook friends posting about the NBA whatevers (which I don’t personally give a shit about, soccer’s the only sport I follow).

  98. RitariKnight
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Alan: Yes, I’m aware.But since there’s a very strong correlation between initial ratings and overall viewership, this is a useful proxy.The 10M number is more relevant for calculating such things as profit, etc., but movements in the initial airing number are followed closely by movements in total viewing.

    No, you don’t seem to be aware judging from your posts. There is no very strong correlation between initial viewing numbers and overall viewership, and initial viewing number trends do not affect overall numbers, because there is no correlation between them. Also the overall viewership number is not used by HBO to calculate profit since viewers do not bring them any money, subscribers do, and you don’t have to watch anything to subscribe (although I’m sure all subscribers do watch at least some programming).

    Alan:
    Memorial Day could be an exception to that, of course, which is exactly why I said if this is a long term trend, it would be concerning.Because a permanent loss of half a million people from the initial airing almost certainly reflects a million-plus loss from overall rather than some seismic shift to on demand, repeat or HBO GO viewing patterns.

    It’s simply much more likely that people start or stop watching a program than they change their style of viewing suddenly but permanently.

    This kind of drop would absolutely be concerning if repeated.I have little doubt that when HBO chose to report total viewership, they would be done in that scenario.

    No. People’s watching “style” has already changed drastically with DVR, On Demand, and other such methods available to them. This has been an ongoing process of change in the last decade. Nielsen has not responded to this change much. The reason is simple, network channels still work under the old system of emphasizing the initial airing of any show (repeats are not important in this model), which means that Nielsen will concentrate on that since that brings them money. The networks want to know the initial airing rating as that is used to calculate the price of commercial spots in the programming. HBO does not operate in this fashion. The whole Nielsen system is antiquated and scientifically inaccurate. That doesn’t matter to the networks and advertisers, though, since they both accept it as the pricing tool. The numbers given as viewer numbers, on the other hand, have nothing to do with real world viewer numbers. HBO has it’s own ways of following it’s subscribers’ interest in its programming, and Nielsen ratings is only one, and not so important, part of it.

    Alan:
    On the budget, while I’m sure it is set, I’m also sure there will be overrun approvals (asking for more money) or the unlikely potential for something unfilmed to get downscaled (say, Jon’s final sequence of Season 3).

    That said, even two bad ratings in a row seems unlikely to spook HBO unless there’s a bigger business issue out there.I’ve long thought the biggest risk to Game is general HBO profitability issues rather than Game itself.

    The budget was set before they greenlit the season and there will not be any changes to it afterwards (the extra budget for Blackwater was set before the second season was officially approved). Ratings do not play any role in HBO decision making. Luck, for instance, had very poor initial airing ratings (around half a million) but a quite strong overall viewership number (over 4 million on average per episode during the first season), but it was renewed for a second season almost straight away because HBO does not take initial airing ratings into account at all. If Luck had been a network show, it would have been canceled after the second episode aired, or maybe it might have gotten to episode three but not any further. Luck being canceled while shooting the second season had nothing with the ratings to do; HBO was very happy with the show but was forced to cancel it due to the horse deaths. There are other examples on ratings and overall numbers and viewing habit changes, e.g. True Blood would be a good example, but I won’t go into that now.

    Bad ratings won’t affect GoT in any way. You are correct, on the other hand, in that if HBO were to suffer some kind of serious financial problem then GoT might be in danger because of it’s high production costs, but at the same time it is one of the highest if not the highest revenue providers for HBO, so canceling GoT would reduce costs significantly but it would also potentially reduce revenues even more (in absolute terms not proportionally). This won’t happen though without an extremely drastic change in the current financial situation in the TV industry. I’d say the risk for it is negligible.

  99. Zack
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    I’ve watched the whole season via HBO GO, so unlike a lot of people whose viewing habits aren’t noticed due to the lack of a Nielson box, I know my views count toward at least part of HBO’s numbers. :)

  100. tysnow
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    I agree, this was a bad move on HBO’s part to air a new episode of a prime series on Memorial Day, even though it is the overall that really counts in the long run. This was not good PR for the show. Next year HBO needs to run something else on Sunday night for Memorial weekend, or just show a behind the scenes special.

  101. Bruce Sturrock
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I’d be interested to see uk figures. Over here we only get GoT through Sky’s exclusive channel Sky Atlantic (same for BE) this dilutes the series’ potential to break into a mass market, peppers the show with adverts and allows continuity presenters to talk over the end theme (STFU I’m trying to hear the band!). Probaby cut a good deal with HBO though.

  102. More Rice Cooks
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    Wasn’t the first season’s total weekly viewer number around 9m? So this season has added a million new viewers or less?

  103. DH87
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    tysnow: agree, this was a bad move on HBO’s part to air a new episode of a prime series on Memorial Day, even though it is the overall that really counts in the long run. This was not good PR for the show. Next year HBO needs to run something else on Sunday night for Memorial weekend, or just show a behind the scenes special.

    Last year was the first year HBO aired first-run episodes of its tentpole series on Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day, instead running “marathons” of previously aired episodes to avoid the ratings dip holiday weekends typically experience. As RitariKnight explained, with the advent of on-demand viewing, all the network/channels are revisiting their strategies in this regard, HBO among them, I’m sure.
    That said, I stand behind my comment that male-oriented HBO shows don’t do well opposite live U.S. major sporting events and that a way to inoculate a show against that (a way, not the only way) is to attempt to broaden the show to a three-quadrant show.

    For examples of how major studios are trying to do the same, checkout today’s article on Deadline Hollywood that describes in detail how advance focus groups reacted so negatively to the killing off of the Channing Tatum character in GIJoe2 that the studio is pushing back the release date six months and reshooting the film to resurrect the character, based primarily on CT’s appeal to the ladies. I won’t paraphrase the whole article and comments but worth reading if you are interested in the post-John Carter, post-Battleship approach to “geek” tentpole films.

  104. RitariKnight
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    DH87: Agreed, but as we’ve discussed here before, initial ratings do have an impact on the basic cable stations’ interest in buying the show (stripped of LSVN) for distribution to basic cable customers, and that income does figure into HBO’s model/projections of profitability, particularly since HBO no longer waits for its shows to complete their run before flogging them (TB was shopped after S2 for $800,000 per ep, I believe, but with no takers).

    Even though there is some truth in what you’re saying, you’re over-emphasizing it. Initial airing ratings for HBO shows cannot be used as a reliable model for basic cable ratings simply because HBO subscribers don’t have to watch the first airing but basic cable viewers pretty much do. The initial airing rating for any HBO show could only be used as a very rough guide to viewer interest on the show. Syndication income for HBO is more like an added bonus than a serious revenue source. How much do they truly factor that in in any calculations on profitability is anyone’s guess (if somebody knows this for sure, please let us know, although I doubt HBO would let that kind of information out).

    Another factor that has been said to matter to HBO with the initial airing ratings, and one that I mentioned at some point in some other ratings discussion, is the generation if hype. The media report ratings figures and people talk about them. Good ratings will generate positive hype and bad ratings will at least generate attention in the media. Even though I do agree that this does play a small role for HBO, it is only a very small role at best, since the hype for a show like GoT is there without any ratings reports.

    Anyhow, even though the initial ratings do play a small part in syndication sales and media hype, it is not significant enough for HBO to actually base its show future or budget decisions on them. Those kind of decisions take many things into account, and like I’ve said before, overall viewer numbers are one part of those decisions but initial airing ratings are not.

  105. Winter Is Coming
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    More Rice Cooks:
    Wasn’t the first season’s total weekly viewer number around 9m? So this season has added a million new viewers or less?

    It was at 8.9 million during last season’s run. It then jumped up to 9.3 million by Jan of this year. So, the total audience has grown by about 1.4 million viewers between the end of last season and now. Hopefully, we will see even more growth in between seasons again this time around. Although I’m guessing it won’t be quite as large a jump.

  106. Fire & blood
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    They don’t know what they missed it was Awesome!! I will watch the repeat tonight and Sunday on Sky :-) Do we know the viewing figures for Sky are??

  107. hinka
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

    GoT will fight against the nba-playoffs every year! And next weekend we’ve got boston Vs miami… so i guess many people will watch this on too.
    I’t would be nice to see a increase over the 4 Mio. But I don’t care as long as the show keeps getting renewed every year. Just think about it. 4 Mio Seaons 2 Episode 10 and only 3,x Mio Season 3 Episode 1… wouldn’t like this one to happen.

  108. Alan
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    RitariKnight: No, you don’t seem to be aware judging from your posts. There is no very strong correlation between initial viewing numbers and overall viewership, and initial viewing number trends do not affect overall numbers, because there is no correlation between them. Also the overall viewership number is not used by HBO to calculate profit since viewers do not bring them any money, subscribers do, and you don’t have to watch anything to subscribe (although I’m sure all subscribers do watch at least some programming).

    There again with the insulting. I can cite a study which strongly correlates initial airings with DVR+7 ratings. Can you cite anything to back up your assertion? Do you work in the industry?

    Everyone I’ve talk to in TV says initial airing movements are a good proxy; but I’m more than willing to accede the point if you’re willing to explain rather than condescend.

    No. People’s watching “style” has already changed drastically with DVR, On Demand, and other such methods available to them. This has been an ongoing process of change in the last decade. Nielsen has not responded to this change much. The reason is simple, network channels still work under the old system of emphasizing the initial airing of any show (repeats are not important in this model), which means that Nielsen will concentrate on that since that brings them money.

    There’s no doubt Nielsen ratings focus on networks and advertisers. And there’s no doubt more people watch on DVR and on alternative channels that still make HBO money.

    That in no way invalidates my point. Large, permanent (that is, not one week) shifts in initial viewership is much more likely to be due to people not watching the program (and thus be reflected in total viewership numbers) than a huge shift in people suddenly moving more to alternative viewing just for Game of Thrones. How you watch TV is not specific to a single program.

    The networks want to know the initial airing rating as that is used to calculate the price of commercial spots in the programming. HBO does not operate in this fashion. The whole Nielsen system is antiquated and scientifically inaccurate. That doesn’t matter to the networks and advertisers, though, since they both accept it as the pricing tool. The numbers given as viewer numbers, on the other hand, have nothing to do with real world viewer numbers. HBO has it’s own ways of following it’s subscribers’ interest in its programming, and Nielsen ratings is only one, and not so important, part of it.

    Again, I’m aware. But you’re kidding yourself if you think HBO doesn’t believe there’s a correlation between subscribers watching things and continuing to subscribe. I’m not really sure what to say here. You’re continuing to talk technicalities, when the point is: initial viewership movements tend to reflect total viewership, which reflects on subscribers in the long term.

    If you’ve got something that invalidates that relationship, link it please. Otherwise, I don’t see anything that is actually contrary to my point.

    Just because something isn’t the best metric, doesn’t mean it doesn’t share common causals with better metrics. I know HBO doesn’t care about initial numbers. My point is that in the long run, movements there will be reflected in things they care about.

    The budget was set before they greenlit the season and there will not be any changes to it afterwards (the extra budget for Blackwater was set before the second season was officially approved). Ratings do not play any role in HBO decision making. Luck, for instance, had very poor initial airing ratings (around half a million) but a quite strong overall viewership number (over 4 million on average per episode during the first season), but it was renewed for a second season almost straight away because HBO does not take initial airing ratings into account at all. If Luck had been a network show, it would have been canceled after the second episode aired, or maybe it might have gotten to episode three but not any further. Luck being canceled while shooting the second season had nothing with the ratings to do; HBO was very happy with the show but was forced to cancel it due to the horse deaths. There are other examples on ratings and overall numbers and viewing habit changes, e.g. True Blood would be a good example, but I won’t go into that now.

    Do you work for HBO? I have no doubt a budget is set and the most common time to change budgets is before they start, and I said as much. I guess I can take your word that HBO would never cut a budget mid-season, but if I remember Rome had some mid-season changes, so I’m not sure that’s right.

    Bad ratings won’t affect GoT in any way. You are correct, on the other hand, in that if HBO were to suffer some kind of serious financial problem then GoT might be in danger because of it’s high production costs, but at the same time it is one of the highest if not the highest revenue providers for HBO, so canceling GoT would reduce costs significantly but it would also potentially reduce revenues even more (in absolute terms not proportionally). This won’t happen though without an extremely drastic change in the current financial situation in the TV industry. I’d say the risk for it is negligible.

    I’d imagine if only a couple million people were tuning in (in total viewership) HBO would cancel the show. $60M is a lot of money to spend to only please a small portion of your subscriber base. And since that would be an indicator of lessened interest, that would likely mean reduced DVD sales, reduced interest in overseas licensing, etc.

    As for the industry risk, I don’t think the next couple of seasons contain the risk. I do wonder when a la carte pricing and digital delivery are going, if ever, to shift the industry like iTunes did for music.

    HBO would suffer some heavy losses, as would all channels — which are basically a part of the distribution chain. They’d do better than most channels. Game itself would likely have a strong revenue base but man, that cost and the pure logistics… there’s options if HBO had to opt out — a movie studio supporting it and selling it digitally, etc.

    It likely won’t happen in the next five years, but change can come swiftly.

  109. jdp13
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    It’s definitely Memorial Day weekend. I’ve watched every episode with the first showing but I didn’t get to watch Blackwater until Monday. I’m sure there were others like me.

  110. Maxwell James
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

    To add to RitariKnight’s well-informed posts: it is worth remembering that Nielsen has a substantial margin of error, which goes up when looking at subgroups (such as HBO subscribers). That, plus the Memorial Day effect – which absolutely does exist – is more than adequate to explain a one-week dip in the ratings.

    Unless we see a sustained drop, of course. But that has not happened yet, and given the great hype around ‘Blackwater’ I doubt it will.

    When you get down to it, all this means is that ~125 HBO subscribers with Nielsen boxes were out with their families, or watching a basketball game, rather than watching ‘Blackwater’ on Sunday night. Most likely, all of them have watched it by now.

  111. Arthur
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    With this news I doubt the finale episode will break 4 million. Season 2 did average more then season 1. Hopefully season 3 will carry the same trend.

    I wouldn’t worry to much. We will all be fine.

  112. Thiago Slash
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

    Matt S:
    Not gonna lie, disappointed about these numbers. Though mostly because I have no idea what Memorial Day is and why it would effect ratings.

  113. Prankster
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Argh. For the JILLIIONTH TIME, guys, first-view ratings mean almost NOTHING to HBO. They don’t have ads, and therefore, the ratings of any particular timeslot don’t matter. Cumulative ratings are far more important, and on that level, GoT is kicking ass. Even more important are subscriptions, but I’m not clear on where GoT stands on that. Probably pretty good, though–it’s a big “buzz” show.

    Even if it wasn’t doing well on any of these levels, the DVDs and Blu-Rays are CRAZY good sellers (remember?), and HBO gets to keep those profits, so if they had to they could consider the show itself a loss leader and make all their money in DVD sales. Then there’s foreign sales. The show is doing amazingly, as has been pointed out we’re all obsessing over a metric that’s outdated and unreliable even for network television and means bupkiss for HBO.

  114. Michael Tschuertz
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    DH87,

    well nobody really said anything against the idea of bringing in a chickmagnet.
    Hell if say Skarsgard would have played Rhaegar in vision next sunday my sister would have seen at least that episode, but knowing her it would had made her like the series, she would have taken my books and season 1 from me.

    P.s.:there was a rumour about RPattz playing himself in entourage next to last season and my sister knew about and asked me if I knew which episode.

  115. DH87
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

    RitariKnight: If Luck had been a network show, it would have been canceled after the second episode aired, or maybe it might have gotten to episode three but not any further. Luck being canceled while shooting the second season had nothing with the ratings to do;

    I attribute the renewal of Luck not so much to any great commitment to the show but rather Lombardo’s off-remarked upon commitment to 1990s greats like Milch, Mann, and Hoffman, since who else would greenlight a major tentpole built around an American sport—horseracing— whose average fan is age 51? (And I say that as a horseman.) It would be like airing a tentpole built around vaudeville as a live-and-well institution. Unlike Albrecht, who focused on upcoming talent, the current management can’t get enough of its old stand-bys. Sometimes that works (GRRM himself), sometimes it doesn’t (Mildred Pierce/Hemingway and Gellhorn, anyone?). We’ll soon see how well Aaron Sorkin’s writing holds up in Newsroom. (Of course, it’s hard to think that anything could have stood up on Monday night to the Hatfields and McCoys stunning rating route.)

  116. Steven Swanson
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Prankster: Argh. For the JILLIIONTH TIME, guys, first-view ratings mean almost NOTHING to HBO. They don’t have ads, and therefore, the ratings of any particular timeslot don’t matter. Cumulative ratings are far more important, and on that level, GoT is kicking ass. Even more important are subscriptions, but I’m not clear on where GoT stands on that. Probably pretty good, though–it’s a big “buzz” show.Even if it wasn’t doing well on any of these levels, the DVDs and Blu-Rays are CRAZY good sellers (remember?), and HBO gets to keep those profits, so if they had to they could consider the show itself a loss leader and make all their money in DVD sales. Then there’s foreign sales. The show is doing amazingly, as has been pointed out we’re all obsessing over a metric that’s outdated and unreliable even for network television and means bupkiss for HBO.

    Hey man, don’t be harshing people’s bummer like that, you want to end a full-scale panic or something?

  117. Madmage
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

    All this hand-wringing over 1 episode on Memorial day is akin to all the “OMG WE NEED THE REEDS!” from previous weeks. Take a deep breath and wait to see if this is a trend rather than a 1 time blip before passing judgment.

  118. Arthur
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

    People got to remember GoTs isn’t an “instant gratification” series where you can catch midway through a season an exspect payoff.

    It’s a show you have to invest time in to understand the complexity of the plot, storylines, and character relationships.

    That being said, it’s a show that should increase on average viewing from season to season.

    Analogy would be;

    Most series are like Silver Maple trees. They grow fast and reach big heights in a few decades. While GoTs is like a Redwood Tree. Growing very slow and steady. Although the Silver Maple will be taller then it for many decades, the Redwood will eventually surpas it by astronomical per portions…

    Yeah I know that was kind of a lame analogy but I hope it cumminicated the point I was trying to make that many of you are already aware of.

    GoTs takes time to build up viewership because it’s harder to follow. But once the viewer “gets it”, they will stick around.

  119. elain
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    omg! no more Skarsgard here please!

    Skarsgard and his super star power (…..) qualities have been a BO / critical failure with Battleship, a favourite contender for the razzie awards this year!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    and now can we move on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  120. Darren Mason
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    That’s all fine and great but where are the tweets for this episode!!! I want them!

  121. Michael Tschuertz
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    elain,

    well he is a big big resaon why people females watch true blood.
    he or somebody like him may get GoT 1 to 1.5 million viewers alone. it may also shift the demographic more to 50/50 male/female.

    and wasnt battleship a Taylor Kitsch movie?
    also I am still not sure why Tim Riggins starts in all those movies as of late.

  122. Vince
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Chris Peterson:
    I expect ratings will hit 4.1 or 4.2 next week.Any real ratings gains will likely come between this season and the next.

    Everybody expected Blackwater would break 4 million without even thinking about the memorial break…. I think the finale stands a chance, but I wouldn’t expect it. I’m 50/50 on it and that season 3 will either stay the same as season 2 or lose a little.

  123. Knurk
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Question: are the On Demand and DVR numbers also from Nielsen households?

    I never understood that in this digital age we’re still reliable on Nielsen for the ratings. It must be quite easy to register who’s watching what on a digital box, though of course that brings a certain Big Brother Is Watching You Watching TV-vibe with it.

  124. elain
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Michael Tschuertz: well he is a big big resaon why people females watch true blood.

    and wasnt battleship a Taylor Kitsch movie?

    And??????? but they do not pay a movie ticket to see his films and much less when they are so bad.

    a Taylor Kitsch movie, a Skarsgard movie, a Rhianna movie … a pathetic movie.

  125. LordStarkington
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Darren Mason:
    That’s all fine and great but where are the tweets for this episode!!! I want them!

    Agreed!

    At one point I saw 4 different Blackwater topics in the 10 trending ones, which was pretty cool.

  126. Michael Tschuertz
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    Vince,

    and that season 3 will either stay the same as season 2 or lose a little.

    Should dvd/blue ray work to get it up?

  127. DH87
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Michael Tschuertz: and wasnt battleship a Taylor Kitsch movie?
    also I am still not sure why Tim Riggins starts in all those movies as of late.

    Yep, I understand Peter Berg going with him, since he’s the “big” star of Friday Night Lights (a basic cable show/film), but the John Carter thing was a head-scratcher. I think we’ll see Mr. Kitsch go the way of Taylor Lautner (who?) into the dustbin of movie history, filled with underwear models who can’t carry a major film. The industry is desperate to find the next guy who can shoulder a tentpole, preferably someone who is now cheap, but in any economy they are few and far between. Johnny Depp is, at 48, the youngest guy doing the job now.

    The laughable Mr. Tatum seems the closest thing to bank right now, given his general likeability among U.S. female audiences, but I’m betting on Fassbender as a guy who guys seem to like (right? XMen: First Class? Inglorious Basterds?) and makes the ladies swoon.

  128. death to lannisters
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Knurk: Question: are the On Demand and DVR numbers also from Nielsen households?

    I never understood that in this digital age we’re still reliable on Nielsen for the ratings. It must be quite easy to register who’s watching what on a digital box, though of course that brings a certain Big Brother Is Watching You Watching TV-vibe with it.

    No, On Demand and DVR are not counted in Nielsen numbers, though sometimes they do count if it’s DVR’d and watched within 24 hours. It doesn’t make sense at all. Nielsen is a dinosaur that has a stranglehold on the ratings measurement market. It’s amazing these numbers carry any weight at all, because they don’t account for a major slice of the market anymore. But it’s the only measurement they’ve got, so much like a polygraph (which has no scientific basis) it’s what people use. And yes, there are privacy restrictions from letting cable companies “watch” (measure) what their customers are watching.

  129. Michael Tschuertz
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    elain,

    I thing you have a problem with the movie battleship.

    aslo we talk about tv shows her not movies.

  130. coronaking
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    Each/Next week on “Game of Thrones”:

    There will be sex and violence. The ratings will reach 4.0.
    Daenerys Targaryen will take what is hers with fire and blood.

  131. Maxwell James
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    Knurk: Question: are the On Demand and DVR numbers also from Nielsen households?

    Yes, both figures are estimated through Nielsen. See here and here.

    And yes, the Nielsen system is really, really antiquated.

  132. Michael Tschuertz
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    DH87,

    I see Peter Berg was the man behind battleship.
    Taylor Kitsch=Tim Riggins for me.

    I also think all to often the breakout role of a actor/actress is the one thing I like them best.
    Jessica alba or Kristen Bell come to mind(correct me if i am wrong).

    Is Channing Tatum a guy guys like to see?
    Fassbender on the other hand…
    Now that I think of it. I still think it is funny that I like DiCaprio more then my sister.

    p.s.: isnt there anybody yopunger then Johnny Depp doing it? really?

  133. Alan
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

    Madmage:
    All this hand-wringing over 1 episode on Memorial day is akin to all the “OMG WE NEED THE REEDS!” from previous weeks. Take a deep breath and wait to see if this is a trend rather than a 1 time blip before passing judgment.

    I see very little handwringing, just a lot of discussion.

  134. Joshua Taylor
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    I believe that these ratings do not mean all that much in the grand scheme of things as Blackwater seems to be on everyone’s lips, but we will lose some viewers after the season. Some people are starting to realize that hey….the Lannisters are more than just villains in this series? Some will accept this and some will be put off by it. I think Blackwater will be the staying on jumping off point for the fans who see things in black and white as opposed to many shades of grey.

  135. Michael Tschuertz
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor,

    interesting thought, but isnt HBO known for that kind of grey shows?

  136. BrushGuy
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    I watched this episode a day after Liam Cunningham was in my house. Just to make you all jealous :D

  137. Knurk
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Is this posted before? Here’s an article which countries are torrenting the show the most: http://torrentfreak.com/whos-pirating-game-of-thrones-and-why-120520/

    Especially Norway, Netherlands and Greece stand out when you consider their small populations.

  138. Johan Sporre
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

    Look at this instead of the ratings. I’d guess HBO cares more about internet buzz than initial ratings.

  139. death to lannisters
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    BrushGuy: I watched this episode on Monday night with, sitting beside Liam Cunningham. Just to make you all jealous :D

    So …. did he like it?

  140. BrushGuy
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

    Johan Sporre,

    Yeah, the difference being GoT has just reached the apex of this series, while at this moment in time neither True Blood or Boardwalk Empire are on air.

  141. Silver fox
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Makes sense to me. No star power, no hype, no more word of mouth, strong book fans alienated by the show fans and by show runners. Etc.

  142. Johan Sporre
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    BrushGuy,

    That was of course just an example to see the peak from the last episode. You can change the time period to anything you like and see that GoT now is trending higher than True Blood has ever done.

  143. LordStarkington
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Michael Tschuertz:
    Joshua Taylor,

    interesting thought, but isnt HBO known for that kind of grey shows?

    The show grew in popularity after Ned died, a much more shocking event for people that tied into good/evil or black/white morality. I find it really hard to believe they’ll jump off because the Lannisters won the Battle of the Blackwater.

  144. DH87
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think anything will dislodge GOT from its current spot, even a drop to 3.5 million first-viewing, or a jump to 5 million. If The Newsroom does well, it can take the place of the unfortunate Luck, and the four tentpoles for 2012-2013 will remain static: BE, GOT, TB, and Newsroom. That’s all HBO needs. TB can drop by 50 percent and still earn its (cheap) keep, and two period dramas/two contemporary will keep the abacus-guys happy at HBO. Apparently American Gods is still alive, and if it goes well, may take the place of the geriatric-if-cheap TB for 2013-2014 in the fantasy/horror slot TB vacates.

    Michael Tschuertz: Is Channing Tatum a guy guys like to see?

    Until now, the answer has been a resounding “No,” but that’s what surprised the folks at Paramount, apparently, regarding GIJoe3 (I mixed up my GIJoe 2 and 3 in my above post—sorry: NMG—not my genre). Tatum trended well with the target movie goers (presumably guys) and that’s what caused a reboot, not the conversion to 3-D that was the party line. Pretty shocking given the merchandise tie-ins are already in the stores, apparently. Tatum must have some firepower with guys previously unplumbed.

    And, yes, no one younger than Depp is carrying movies here and abroad at the level needed for films costing 200-300 million to make and market. Ed. to add: Before someone chops my head off: Brad Pitt is also 48.

  145. Nagga's Kin
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

    TorrentFreak has published interesting data regarding which countries and cities are home to the most GoT pirates (excl. consumers of illegal on-demand streaming). Dated May 20, so it doesn’t include the Blackwater episode and probably not the one before it, either.

    http://torrentfreak.com/whos-pirating-game-of-thrones-and-why-120520/

    Please note: I do not mean to start another discussion about the legality and morality of pirating TV shows. We’ve been there, done that.

    IMHO, what’s interesting here is the global geographic split and the reasons for it. HBO appears to be happy with its existing subscriber- and channel-based business model for now. However, industry observers worry that piracy will eventually sink the enterprise. Reasonable prices plus legal action appear to have curbed the growth in US video piracy, yet it remains rampant in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world.

    Just consider how Napster and later, Apple’s iTunes store, forced record labels to drastically refocus from albums back to singles and, to jettison the traditional staggering of release dates by country. The internet has already radically changed consumer preferences: increasingly, they speak English well enough, they want to cherry-pick their favorites and they perceive delayed access as a form of second-class digital citizenship.

    Will HBO eventually be forced to abandon it’s current bundling strategies and instead sell individual episodes of individual shows globally for just a few dollars for each legal download, with simultaneous access for all?

  146. Ritas Smith
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Wonder why HBO puts Game of Thrones on at this point in the season, always play-offs, holidays, although I guess there’s not a time when nothing is happening but they have been up against it.

  147. DH87
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    Ritas Smith,

    Not compared to poor BE, which has to go against ratings giant Sunday Night Football for every single weekend it’s on. We can’t complain!

  148. Knurk
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Nagga’s Kin:
    TorrentFreak has published interesting data regarding which countries and cities are home to the most GoT pirates (excl. consumers of illegal on-demand streaming). Dated May 20, so it doesn’t include the Blackwater episode and probably not the one before it, either.

    http://torrentfreak.com/whos-pirating-game-of-thrones-and-why-120520/

    Please note: I do not mean to start another discussion about the legality and morality of pirating TV shows. We’ve been there, done that.

    IMHO, what’s interesting here is the global geographic split and the reasons for it. HBO appears to be happy with its existing subscriber- and channel-based business model for now. However, industry observers worry that piracy will eventually sink the enterprise. Reasonable prices plus legal action appear to have curbed the growth in US video piracy, yet it remains rampant in Europe, Asia and other parts of the world.

    Just consider how Napster and later, Apple’s iTunes store, forced record labels to drastically refocus from albums back to singles and, to jettison the traditional staggering of release dates by country. The internet has already radically changed consumer preferences: increasingly, they speak English well enough, they want to cherry-pick their favorites and they perceive delayed access as a form of second-class digital citizenship.

    Will HBO eventually be forced to abandon it’s current bundling strategies and instead sell individual episodes of individual shows globally for just a few dollars for each legal download, with simultaneous access for all?

    lol the article is more than aweek old and we post it here inside 20 minutes.

  149. winterfell
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    something else to consider –

    Because of the holiday, My GoT friends and I got together, had a BBQ, and watched together. Whereas, we normally would have watched separately. Of course, the fact that our 10 views condensed into 1 didnt affect the rating that much, but I wonder how many others had “viewing parites” like ours because we didnt have to be at work the next day.

    Also, we DVR’d the ep and watched it a little bit later than we normally would have. not sure if that affects the ratings either.

    Overall, Who cares. We’ll get season 3 no matter what. and if HBO is stupid enough to cancel the show before the RW, then there nothing we could have done, regardless of ratings.

    If they want to increase ratings for next season, they should use the tagline:

    “Joffrey’s going to die this season. We Promise!”

  150. Nagga's Kin
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    winterfell:

    If they want to increase ratings for next season, they should use the tagline:

    “Joffrey’s going to die this season. We Promise!”

    Alternative: “subscribe now or Joffrey will live forever!” ;^)

  151. Blourd
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

    Still think leaving out the chain was an okay idea?

    Hmmm?

  152. Michael Tschuertz
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Permalink

    Nagga’s Kin,

    me like it!

  153. Steven Swanson
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    Blourd: Still think leaving out the chain was an okay idea?Hmmm?

    Ah yes, I did note how the day after the episode aired headlines screamed “Game of Thrones Fail: Where Was the Fricking CHAIN?!?”

  154. Steven Swanson
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Silver fox: Makes sense to me. No star power, no hype, no more word of mouth, strong book fans alienated by the show fans and by show runners. Etc.

    Butthurt alert.

  155. Virtus
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    Blourd:
    Still think leaving out the chain was an okay idea?

    Hmmm?

    LOL, people tuning in or not had no idea whether there would be a chain, so I don’t see how that would have any effect.

  156. oscar evel
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    it makes sense.. episode 8 sucked (or at least wasn’t very grippping), so less people watch episode 9. I predict this week will see 4+ million, because Blackwater was the shit and it’s the season finale.

  157. Coltaine777
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    There absolutely nothing to worry about…the viewership numbers will be back this weekend …and then next weekend comes Prometheus!!!

  158. Coltaine777
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    oscar evel:
    it makes sense.. episode 8 sucked (or at least wasn’t very grippping), so less people watch episode 9. I predict this week will see 4+ million, because Blackwater was the shit and it’s the season finale.

    Agreed…

  159. Handmaiden of Dany
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Tweets!…please?

  160. Laura T.
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    I watched it but was deliriously tired due to the holiday weekend & truly debated taping & watching Monday night instead. My Saturday night rewatch will almost be like seeing it for the first time…almost.

  161. Joshua Taylor
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    LordStarkington,

    Yeah but don’t you think that a large proportion of the audience watch GoT due to its fantasy/medieval trappings? The same crowd that watches Spartacus where at the end of every season there is some payoff guaranteed for the audience? A proportion of people who only have HBO to watch GoT and would probably be bored out their minds with Sopranos, Deadwood, Rome et al?

  162. Silver fox
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Ritas Smith:
    Wonder why HBO puts Game of Thrones on at this point in the season, always play-offs, holidays, although I guess there’s not a time when nothing is happening but they have been up against it.

    I for one am looking forward to the season premiere of True Blood.

  163. Michael Tschuertz
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor,

    spartacus people= GoT people?

  164. DB
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Might also have something to do with how shitty ep 18 was… maybe

  165. Stacia
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Clearly, the numbers are off because west coast viewers heard there wasn’t going to be a chain and didn’t watch in protest.

  166. Michael Tschuertz
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    Silver fox,

    skarsgard?

  167. LordStarkington
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    Joshua Taylor:
    LordStarkington,

    Yeah but don’t you think that a large proportion of the audience watch GoT due to its fantasy/medieval trappings? The same crowd that watches Spartacus where at the end of every season there is some payoff guaranteed for the audience? A proportion of people who only have HBO to watch GoT and would probably be bored out their minds with Sopranos, Deadwood, Rome et al?

    I just don’t agree with the idea that these theoretical black and white morals-type viewers would wait until now to jump off because the Lannisters might win. It’s been 19 episodes of a lot of moral ambiguity and good guys losing (Ned)/bad guys winning (Joffrey, etc.); if they’ve watched up until now I have a hard time seeing them as viewers who will go “The Lannisters might win the war? Screw this”.

  168. SillyMammo
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Silver fox:
    Makes sense to me. No star power, no hype, no more word of mouth, strong book fans alienated by the show fans and by show runners. Etc.

    Dear gods!!! I’m tired of so called book fans complaining about every little thing. It feels like a contest to see who is the “biggest” fan and the only way to win is to piss and moan the most and the loudest!! Did you ever think in your wildest dreams that this series would ever be made into a TV show? And for the show to be at such a high quality level and not some crap adaptation like Legend of the Seeker? These are the same people that cry that their favorite band sold out because they became popular.

    For the record, I’ve been reading the series since the 1st book came out back in the mid-90′s.

  169. John Webster
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    I still don’t understand why everyone’s so down on “The Prince of Winterfell”. It was one of my favorites of the season and I found it quite emotional. But then again, I look at GoT as a drama series, not an action show.

  170. Josh Parker
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    John Webster,

    And in that, you may very well be in the minority. Most people (and I don’t think this is right) see “medieval” fantasy, swords, etc., and think “this is a swash-buckling action show, like Hercules or Xena!” And when they don’t get it, and they get bored. It’s stupid, but it’s true.

  171. feyrband
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

    lewis,

    Spurs vs Thunder is a huge draw right now, it’s the matchup everyone i know has been looking forward to and seems to be the case from espn and the media. The winner of the west beating down the Heat will draw well also, but I wouldn’t be surprised if more watch the western conference finals.

  172. Arthur
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    winterfell,

    That is a very good point about “viewing parties”, my family is also guilty of this all season.

    The first airing ratings really don’t matter. I consider them for only bragging rights. As long as GoTs gets over 9 million total views every week (on demand, DVR and airings on HBO). Then there is nothing to worry about. We all know HBO isn’t commercial television so the first airing ratings mean nothing to HBO (they aint selling commercials).

    So no worries here. I hope GoTs picks about another million on average next season though. ASoS is such an awesome book that’s packed with awesome events. Be a shame if more people didn’t get to witness it.

  173. Ned
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    Season 2 Finale breaks that “4,000,000 barrier” no question. They have been flirting with it all season long, right around that 3.8 – 3.9 million zone a majority of the time.

    I think they smartly put their best episode on Memorial Day Weekend. In an effort to reduce the inevitable “Memorial Day ratings Drop”. If it wasn’t Blackwater it would have been worse.

    BTW how BA is it that Valar Morghulis is 70 minutes? I suppose it had to be with the amount of story they had to wrap up.

    Season 2 Finale: 4.1 million
    Season 3 Premiere: 4.5 million

    Atleast I hope … I think that if the series can stay around 4-5 million viewers per episode (initial airing), it will get renewed year after year after year with budget increases.

    KEEP TELLING YOUR FRIENDS.

  174. Knurk
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    John Webster:
    I still don’t understand why everyone’s so down on “The Prince of Winterfell”. It was one of my favorites of the season and I found it quite emotional. But then again, I look at GoT as a drama series, not an action show.

    Josh Parker:
    John Webster,

    And in that, you may very well be in the minority. Most people (and I don’t think this is right) see “medieval” fantasy, swords, etc., and think “this is a swash-buckling action show, like Hercules or Xena!” And when they don’t get it, and they get bored. It’s stupid, but it’s true.

    oh please, of course the majority watches it because it is a drama series. If they only watched it for the action they would have been gone a long time ago. Episode 8 was just boring “drama” for a lot of people.

  175. DH87
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

    Arthur: That is a very good point about “viewing parties”, my family is also guilty of this all season.

    Unless any of you are Nielsen families, what you do in the privacy of your own homes is of no concern to HBO. (Note: if you are a Republican, you may feel differently.)

  176. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    I think it’s time to rally the banners. We must get the finale over 4 million for the premier airing! It may only be for bragging rights, but the show deserves to cross that threshold after the excellence of ‘Blackwater’. Screw Miami vs Boston next Sunday. Neither of those teams will beat the Spurs anyway.

  177. J
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    John Webster,

    Yeah, I don’t get it either, I absolutely loved The Prince of Winterfell.

  178. Kaeth
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    Matt S,

    memorial day is the holdiday when we honor our fallen soldiers.

  179. HouseLark
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    The show may need to start centring even more on a few central characters. All successful TV shows need a very limited number of heros or anti-heros that viewers can invest in heavily. If anything, I think D&D are trying too hard to satisfy the whims of fans to the detriment of the televisual spectacle. Last season was all about Ned and Cersei with Tyrion also coming to prominence. They need that dynamic again which may well involve taking more liberties with the source material.

  180. Arthur
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    HouseLark,

    I disagree but your point is valid and has been argued on this site over and over again.

    The argument basicaly goes like this.

    GoTs is such a great and fun TV show to watch because of all the fleshed out characters and storylines…

    GoTs has to many characters and storylines to keep up with…

    I think the fact there are so many characters and storylines is what makes GoTs totally unique. People just need to invest the time to watch it. I think people will do this over the course of time and every seasons average viewership will rise as a result.

  181. Virtus
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    HouseLark,

    Last season was not all about King’s Landing. Jon Snow ‘s and Daenerys’s storylines were in a prominent position and both of them became favorites of many non-readers. GRRM himself had earlier turned down adaptation offers from studios that wanted to concentrate on just one storyline. If the show were to discard all other storylines for the sake of one, they would lose the majority of the book readers and non-readers.

  182. Pastor_of_Muppets
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    The ratings dip is, to put it concisely, not a big deal. I expect the show will match or exceed the series high for the finale. Any big jumps this show is going to see are almost certainly going to happen between seasons, not between episodes, but a jump for the last episode should still be expected.

  183. Greatjon
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    It’s a tiny little dip in ratings on Memorial Day weekend. It’s not a sign of the end times. Everyone and their mother agrees that Blackwater was the best episode of the season and one of the best of the series. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

  184. nightwolf
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    Its still higher than it ever got last season, I’m not concerned.

  185. DH87
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    I can’t find the poster who was asking about HBO tentpole shows upthread: Alan Ball’s new drama, Wichita, is an HBO project and will slide into one of those contemporary slots, most likely, if The Newsroom fails to deliver. He’s HBO’s little buddy!

  186. Remaal
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    Michael Tschuertz,
    Joshua Taylor,

    Speaking for myself, I’m a Spartacus person. I absolutely adore that show. I’m also a GOT person, long time reader as well (ASOIAF is only the second fantasy series I have ever read, the first was LOTR). I’m also a Deadwood person (easily my favourite show ever), a Rome person, a Carnival person, a Justified person & a Mad Men person.

    I truly don’t think you can draw any kind of general rule as to the kind of viewership GOT attracts vis-à-vis other HBO shows. GOT as a fantasy show is not typical. As a medieval show, GOT is not typical either. Its audience are therefor likely to be far more diverse than those typical to any conventional genre series.

  187. Tomer Segal
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Disapointing.. I hope all the good feedbacks from constant viewers and bookreaders will follow D&D and the cast and the crew. they deserve to know.

  188. Coltaine777
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    lol CBC Canada news show ‘ the Lang / O’leary Exchange’ host Kevin Oleary was just raving about GOT and how he just discovered the show on itunes …he’s absolutely loving it… yaaaaa Oleary !!!

  189. Ryan E
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    Its Memorial Day. Myself and all the other GOT fans I know DVRd it and caught it on Monday. Not surprised that Nielsen viewers did the same.

  190. Abyss
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    Off-Topic: Kit Harington talks about adapting the books for tv. (video interview by The Wall Street Journal)

  191. Nagga's Kin
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    DH87: Unless any of you are Nielsen families, what you do in the privacy of your own homes is of no concern to HBO.

    So, you think HBO is waiting with baited breath for the 7+DVR+online Nielsen ratings? Sure, they look at them but they’re only one data set, useful for spotting trends over the course of weeks and months.

    What HBO really cares about is the number of active subscriptions. It also cares about the locations where those numbers are changing, especially as it expands into new countries where pay TV isn’t a long-established business model. It cares about giving its distribution partners, i.e. cable companies, value for money by increasing demand for their services, since that affects the premium HBO can charge them relative to other channels. The rights to broadcast HBO content may well be a loss leader for e.g. Sky Atlantic HD in Europe, at least in the initial months. None of that data is captured by Nielsen.

    As for viewing parties, they represent an opportunity cost in the very short term but an opportunity for subscriber growth in the slightly longer term. IMHO, a smart marketing department would sell fans a kit with everything they need to throw a successful viewing party. Hey, get 2-3 of your friends to sign on the dotted line for service or 5 to buy a DVD/BluRay boxed sets and get a party kit for free!

  192. HouseLark
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

    Arthur:
    HouseLark,

    I disagree but your point is valid and has been argued on this site over and over again.

    The argument basicaly goes like this.

    GoTs is such a great and fun TV show to watch because of all the fleshed out characters and storylines…

    GoTs has to many characters and storylines to keep up with…

    I think the fact there are so many characters and storylines is what makes GoTs totally unique.People just need to invest the time to watch it.I think people will do this over the course of time and every seasons average viewership will rise as a result.

    I do agree that the diversity of storylines is a plus point for GoT. However, there’s so many characters to cover right now that it can often feel like we just “touch base” with them rather than see them develop. The big one is Stannis. He should have been the main protagonist this season given that we were always building towards Blackwater as the big set piece. But Stannis had about as much screen time as Xaro Xoan Daxos so it was hard to really care whether he won or lost at Blackwater. Similarly, Jon is one of the msot important characters in the series but his storyline has gotten him less screen time than Robb so far and he’s a secondary character in the grand scheme of things.

    Look, I’m not saying get down to one or two story arcs, but I think as a TV show, it would benefit from concentrating on a few less than they have tried to shoehorn into this season. I stand to be proved wrong I guess, but every TV show needs someone to root for, GoT is struggling to give us that right now. I think this will hurt the ratings in the medium-to-long term: who do viewers invest in? Why should people keep coming back?

  193. Michael Tschuertz
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

    Remaal,

    well i have only seen the first season of spartacus which was fine in my book. we will see about the rest.
    I still expect more viewers come next season.

  194. Michael Tschuertz
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    HouseLark,

    I agree on the stannis thing.

    But this show needs nobody to to root for. Well it does, everybody and nobody.
    Just like blackwater where on the one hand people wanted the lannisters to lose, but still wanted Tyrion to win, which brings us back to the Stannis problem.

  195. DH87
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    HouseLark: I think this will hurt the ratings in the medium-to-long term: who do viewers invest in? Why should people keep coming back?

    This isn’t a small problem. It does prevent viewers from casually sampling the show (missing it one week, catching it the next, particularly if on-demand options aren’t available or appealing for one reason or another) since no one dropping in could follow what’s going on, and it can lead to the critics’ complaining that the show is bloated with too many story lines.
    That said, the Number One reason subscribers give for dropping premium cable channels is “cost,” not specific content, something the HBO, Starz, and Showtime folks know very well. Cost is the primary reason for the push for offering a la carte channel selections rather than the current bundling carriage structure. The biggest adversary to a la carte carriage fees seems to be Disney, which doesn’t want its profitable ESPN channels to become optional —-even though the “network and its offshoot channels account for more than 26% of pay TV programming fees, but just 5% of the ratings.” -DeadlineHollywood 5/30/12.

  196. DH87
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Nagga’s Kin: So, you think HBO is waiting with baited breath for the 7+DVR+online Nielsen ratings?

    I was attempting a bit of humor in the context of “viewing parties.” I think I answered your question in my post, above. HBO is interested in revenue streams, including subscriptions, syndication, product spin-offs, tie-ins, etc. and we can only guess as to what interests it most based on where it puts its marketing muscle. It garners new subs primarily through “free” weekends if their marketing strategies are any indication and what it shows on those free weekends is considered what motivates new subscriptions, since cost is pretty much fixed (see my comment about carriage agreements, above). If a free-standing, a la carte, option became available, I think we’d see HBO respond with a different strategy, just as PBS has done as business sponsorship and public funding has dried up (seeking $$ from private charitable trusts instead of the Mobil Oil Corps of the world).

  197. Nagga's Kin
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    HouseLark: I do agree that the diversity of storylines is a plus point for GoT. However, there’s so many characters to cover right now that it can often feel like we just “touch base” with them rather than see them develop.

    – One part of the problem is that HBO for some reason insisted on mapping essentially all of book 1 into season 1 and all of book 2 into season 2. It seems like a self-imposed strait jacket. They’ve got more and better source material for this show than for most others. What’s the hurry? If 10 episodes averaging ~54 min is all you can produce every year without compromsing quality or burning out your talent, fine.

    Just slow the general plot development down a little to leave more time for back stories to characters and events, adding scenes to deepen the viewers’ understanding of each main character’s perspective and motivation, celebrating the finer things in Westerosi life (food, wine, sex, sports, music, humor) and showcasing the effects the highborns’ shenanigans have on the common folk. If HBO had made either Blackwater or the HotU the premiere episode of season 3, would that have made season 2 less interesting? No, I think the showrunners would have used the extra breathing room wisely.

    At least book 3 will be given more episodes, perhaps as many as 20. However, from what I understand, that’s more out of necessity than a conscious decision to slow down the pace a bit.

    – The second part of the problem is that in many episodes, they try to advance too many storylines a little. That may well make sense for storylines that need to occur concurrently in viewers’ minds because they are intertwined or become so later in the season. However, the scenes featuring Jon+NW and Dany+Qarth were almost disjointed from events in Westeros in season 2. I’d have preferred to see D&D dedicate one full episode (or two half episodes) to each of those geographically remote storylines and leave it at that. For me, the singular focus on KL made the Blackwater episode even better.

  198. Kaeth
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    I think you guys are forgetting the most important character of all. The world of westeros.

  199. Andrew
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Coltaine777,

    He was? haha, that’s great!

    I’ve always wondered how the ratings work, as in how do they know i’m watching? It might sound like a stupid question but I’ve never really looked into it, haha. For instance, most times I just keep the channel set to HBO and turn the TV on when it comes on. Do I count as a viewer? How do they know my TV is on? Does Pyat Pree run Nielsen?

  200. Alan
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    I love the fact that this show is essentially trying something crazy:

    It’s going to have a mammoth scope and be incredibly fast paced. There’s negatives, sure, but a lot of positives. It’s a helluva lot of fun.

  201. DH87
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

    Andrew: I’ve always wondered how the ratings work, as in how do they know i’m watching? It might sound like a stupid question but I’ve never really looked into it, haha. For instance, most times I just keep the channel set to HBO and turn the TV on when it comes on. Do I count as a viewer?

    If go you outside when the moon is full and look up at your roof, you’ll see Mr. Nielsen sitting in your gutters, peeking in when your TV is on and making notes on a clipboard of what you’re watching. He tears that sheet off and wraps it around your roof antenna to be picked up by a raven before daybreak. The raven roosts are located in downtown Chicago. Mr. Nielsen’s relatives total up the figures on all those pieces of 9 x 12 ruled paper and call them in to the top 50 networks about once every 24 hours. Not very efficient but it’s a system that’s been in place because advertisers, those Luddites, won’t adapt to any newer technology.

    Seriously, read the Nielsen Company entry on Wikipedia. It gives you a pretty good idea of how the Nielsen proprietary information gathering system came to be, and why, although it is incredibly out-dated, it is kept alive by media buyers/ad agencies who pay for and use the data when they part with their advertisers’ real American money.

  202. Arthur
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Nagga’s Kin,

    I agree with everything you said. We have to also remember D&D are evolving as “book to TV series adapters” as well. There are little things they can fine tune, so to speak, that would give the TV viewer a greater understanding of the storylines.

    For instance, let’s say for arguments sake, the episodes this season (with summary before the episode and the intro included) averaged 54 minutes. It is my understanding this is actually the case…

    If D&D could more proficiently edit each episode to give us a full hour (even a few minutes over, HBO won’t mind). Think of the extra scenes and storyline/character development we could have witnessed. that’s 6 minutes X10. 60 freaking minutes D&D could have gave us, that’s a whole extra episode.

    Something like this could really enhance the TV series and I am sure it is being looked into. They are honing their craft and I really hope they make better use of their allocated time per episode…

    There is no reason D&D can’t bring us a full 60 minutes per episode.

  203. patchy face
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Nagga’s Kin,

    Was thinking exactly the same thing. I believe that since asos will be divided into 2 seasons, we will see a marked improvement in pacing and character development over this season. Really looking forward.

  204. DH87
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Arthur: There is no reason D&D can’t bring us a full 60 minutes per episode.

    Except that most likely HBO wouldn’t air them. HBO requires several minutes of promos between tentpole airings and no long runs “long episodes,” with the rare exception of next week’s finale (a few Soprano eps many years ago were others). Again, more content is more stuff to be edited out once a show is sold to basic cable, which is more $$ devoted to post-production editing….not a viable option.

  205. Arthur
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    DH87,

    It is my understanding that HBO gave them a season of 10, 1 hour episodes. It’s on HBO to arrange and edit their “promos” before and after the show. D&D only need turn in their finished hour long episodes.

    But I do understand what you are saying. It would be sad to think HBO contractual verbiage would actually say “give us no more the 54 minutes per episode, unless special occasion”. That could be the case but I doubt it…

  206. The Red Avenger
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Since its the 21st Century and there are things called recording devices, why is every still a slave to ratings? GoT has proved that people watch it, it is after all the most pirated tv programme and DVD sales went through the roof – In the UK – the only legal way to watch the show is by having not just a sky subscription but sky equipment as its only on Sky Atlantic which is unavailable on other subscription platforms. When Season 1 was released on DVD and Blu-Ray all those that couldn’t see it, bought it in droves making it HBO’s biggest selling DVD in the UK. I imagine it did similar business in other countries. Ratings are absolutely meaningless these days as there are so many different ways to watch something, whether it is live, recorded, stacked up to watch later, on a PC, or on smartphone or tablet. It is nigh on impossible to correctly work out how much a show is watched and it’s about time they overhauled their decisions on how a show is doing than basing it on a totally inadequate system.

  207. Knackerednun
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think the supposed “drop” in ratings are anything really to worry about. It’s a critically acclaimed show with a fantastic fan base, BUT :)-Many of the non book reader fans of the show were drawn to Dany’s and Jon’s storylines in the first season. These two characters became fan favorites. I think the fact that these two characters have not been shown much this season could have an impact on season three. I only say this based on the discussions I have had within my social circle. There has been a bit of disappointment in those storylines. My hope is that the seasone finale will be mainly about Dany and Jon/night watch/wildlings. I think if that’s the case, it will revitalize their storylines and provide a more well rounded season overall.
    Regardless I have loved the whole season, every single episode has been fantastic! What a freakin treat! :)

  208. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    The Red Avenger,

    I agree. Ratings are basically just for bragging rights. HBO knows how profitable the show is. They know the notoriety it brings the network.

  209. Tyrion Pimpslap
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 10:24 pm | Permalink

    Knackerednun,

    Most of my non-book reading friends don’t like Dany or Jon. They want more Tyrion,Arya, and Jaime. Though I will say that Dany and Jon seem to be more popular with females. Jon is one of my favorite characters, but I have been disappointed with how they handled his character this season. Dany will once again have the biggest and best scenes in the finale, so I imagine her fans will be happy.

  210. Winnie
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 10:34 pm | Permalink
  211. Youssef
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    Not to put salt in the wound here but come on HBO you are IN the film industry. Episode 19 has been anticipated since season 2 started filming and you decide to release the episode the same weekend as a big holiday weekend when ppl are away? Thats like having the superbowl on Monday afternoon.

  212. LordStarkington
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 10:43 pm | Permalink

    Dany’s storyline should get people interested again this week with House of the Undying (and into the adaptation of ASOS too). Jon…him/Ygritte and some insight into the wildlings is okay, but his storyline doesn’t really pick up until he returns to the wall, at which point I think non-readers will fully understand why he gets so much attention.

  213. Knackerednun
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

    Tyrion Pimpslap,

    My non-book friends that I speak of are all ladies :) They love them some Jon Snow and Dany! Haha, so go figure!
    I too, consider Jon as one of my favorite characters in the books. I feel his core character has been diminished this season (so far!)-there is still hope for the season finale, perhaps they can “put him back together”

  214. Steven Swanson
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

    Alan:
    I love the fact that this show is essentially trying something crazy:

    It’s going to have a mammoth scope and be incredibly fast paced.There’s negatives, sure, but a lot of positives.It’s a helluva lot of fun.

    Exactly, I don’t see why anybody should expect it to conform to any preconceived ideal of success. They’re sprawling, convoluted, and awesome books being turned into a sprawling, convoluted, and awesome show. I’m glad they have the balls to just go for it.

  215. DH87
    Posted May 30, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    Arthur: would be sad to think HBO contractual verbiage would actually say “give us no more the 54 minutes per episode, unless special occasion”.

    One way or the other, HBO begins its fresh programming on the hour. The exception next week will most likely accommodate promotion immediately before and after GOT ep. 10 for True Blood, which begins the following Sunday. That will allow the repeat of episode 10 to air at 11:15.

    Another exception to this formula is Mad Men, which in exchange for more ad time within the hour format gave up some budgetary control to creator Matthew Weiner. According to the Huffington Post, “The network insisted that the show cut two minutes per episode for more advertising time; the contract calls for the first and last episode of the show to be the normal 47 minutes. For episodes 2-11, they will initially air as 45 minute episodes, and Weiner’s ‘Final Cut’ will be available digitally 8 days later.”

    A basic cable “hour” show is 47 minutes long and any 52 –60 minute premium cable show eventually is going to be cut to fit the basic cable time slot one way or another. I think we can all agree that it would be pointless for D&D to deliver a 60 minute episode if 5 minutes were going to be cut from it at HBO, with no control over what five minutes that will be, much less involve more significant abridgement once GOT goes to basic cable. And it goes without saying that D&D are trying to adhere to a strict budget and would not deliver a minute more than they have to.

  216. Arthur
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 1:39 am | Permalink

    DH87,

    Good points. Didn’t know or consider all that. Guess the 54 minutes per episode is basically the max they can give due to HBO wanting to show us those important advertisements for other series. Kind of sucks but I guess that’s been the format for them for a while now.

  217. cib
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 2:07 am | Permalink

    Fuckin bad without Ned !

  218. HouseLark
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 4:05 am | Permalink

    Alan:
    I love the fact that this show is essentially trying something crazy:

    It’s going to have a mammoth scope and be incredibly fast paced.There’s negatives, sure, but a lot of positives.It’s a helluva lot of fun.

    It is and don’t get me wrong, I love it. But I benefit from having read the books and I can fill in a lot of backstory and detail that is left offscreen. But if GoT is to get to the end then it will need to be a roaring success – and let’s face it, the more successful it is, the more leverage D&D will have in budget negotiations which they will need given the scale of CGI that is needed in future.

    If GoT is going to be that massive success then it will need to reel in lots of casual viewers and keep them. For me, this means ensuring that the dramatic tension always needs to be high. I consider this: last season when Ned’s head was put on the chopping block I think almost all viewers will have had their hearts in their mouths. If that happened to any character this season would it have had the same impact? (either because viewers really want to see that character live, or because they want to see them die) Possibly Tyrion and Joffrey. That’s a big failing for a show that intends has so many storylines that don’t affect those two.

    If I look at the TV show objectively, this season has given my no compelling reason to care whether or not Jon, Sansa, Bran, or Arya live or die. There’s no feeling that they are on the beginning of an arc that is going to be important, to some extent, they feel almost incidental. And that’s not to criticise the actors who are great, especially Maisie Williams, but their stories are not as well adapted as they could be at this stage.

    This is purely anecdotal but of my friends who watch that haven’t read the books, none care about Jon or Bran at all, they feel sorry for Sansa and though Arya is well-liked there’s no sense of what her role is in anything. They also have no idea what Dany is supposed to be doing this season. It’s s straw poll of people I know but they are the sort of casual viewers HBO will be wanting to hook.

  219. Spike
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 5:03 am | Permalink

    Can someone answer me – why do people care so much about the ‘initial airing’ figures? Surely what matters is the number of people watching the show in total i.e. The total figures across all the repeats, on demand services and TiVo services? I consider myself a big fan but I nearly always record the show and watch it at a time that’s convenient for me. I’m sure other busy people do the same; might as well take advantage of the cool technology that allows us to do that. Why do initial airings matter?

  220. gotgotgot
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 5:05 am | Permalink

    no worries.

    A steady 3m users will keep the show going until its complete with the books. As long as their is no huge decline week to week to week and is over 3m per week its all good.

  221. Winterdark
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    Can anyone tell me, what is the most watched HBO show ever? Six Feet Under? The Wire? The Sopranos?

  222. sjwenings
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    Winterdark,

    Sopranos. Then True blood, then GoT.

  223. Silver fox
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    This proves HBO execs correct: spending more money on battles does not draw viewers.

  224. dgwow
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    i guess got isnt going to get a boost in budget like this season… hopefully people arent fed up with the show.

  225. Wastrel
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Oh gods, ONLY the third-most-watched show in the channel’s history? And the most internationally profitable show in the channel’s history? WHAT ARE THEY DOING WRONG THE SHOW IS DOOMED I TELL YOU EVERYBODY IS DESERTING IT AND SURELY IT WILL BE CANCELLED IMMINENTLY ITS SUCH A CATASTROPHIC FLOP SOMEBODY NEEDS TO BE HANGED!!!

    Oh, and no, HBO’s general profitability concerns will not be a problem, because a) if they were in trouble it would be stupid to cut one of their most profitable products, and more importantly b) HBO’s profits are soaring, in the 10-20% a year range. They’re raking in more money than ever, by far. They’re not about to close down the paint hall because they can’t afford to pay the electricity bill.

  226. HouseLark
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Another reason to not panic just yet is that networks don’t just pull the ladder up on good shows quickly, even costly shows. From what I’ve read, Fringe costs $4m per episode to make and I’ll be buggered if all that is up onscreen because much as I like Fringe, it still looks damn cheap. That show has managed to get four 22 episode seasons (plus a short final season) despite dwindling viewing figures. I think if GoT can maintain figures around 3.5-4 and can stick to budget then we’ll see it through to conclusion. Again though, keeping the casual viewers is central to that.

  227. Michael Tschuertz
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Silver fox,

    wrong. or do you know the total numbeer of viewers?

  228. cute
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Knackerednun: My non-book friends that I speak of are all ladies :) They love them some Jon Snow and Dany! Haha, so go figure!

    it is curious! hhahahaha my non-book friends are all girls and they HATE Jon Snow or Dany, according to them Jon and Dany are very annoying characters.

  229. Dennis
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Gotta love all the emo Debbie downer the glass is half empty folks responding to this. Blackwater was fantastic but I enjoyed the weather, my grill and the beer in my hand a tax more at 9 knowing it was a day off the next day and I could watch it later on the DVR or on demand. Technology and life rock.

  230. Alan
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Winterdark:
    Can anyone tell me, what is the most watched HBO show ever? Six Feet Under? The Wire? The Sopranos?

    Sopranos, then True Blood. I would have thought Sex and the City as well, but apparently not.

  231. Arthur
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Alan,

    Sopranos was in a different time though. When people had to rush to get things done or get home to catch it. Now there is DVR and on demand. So Sopranos numbers should have a caveat next to it, IMO…

    I am sure HBO executives are aware of all this. Even is GoTs never breaks 4 million, with it’s international appeal and DVD sales and critical acclaim/buz, it still is a winner that will keep getting renewed…

  232. Steven Swanson
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    Silver fox: This proves HBO execs correct: spending more money on battles does not draw viewers.

    You seem to be very fond of interpreting data in a way that conforms to your preconceived opinions. Of course you’re not unusual in that but it is pretty funny to witness.

    Total viewing numbers and next week’s ratings will be far more telling. And even that won’t be remotedly the be-all end-all. Fortunately I think HBO execs are intelligent enough to take multiple factors into account, unless, like you, they’ve decided the show is a failure already.

  233. Silver fox
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    Steven Swanson,

    Huh?

    Hire a star and cut off his head. There’s money well spent. Battle episode? Not all that reverberatory among commoners. I’m sure the numbers will bounce up next week.

  234. Alan
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Arthur:
    Alan,

    Sopranos was in a different time though.When people had to rush to get things done or get home to catch it.Now there is DVR and on demand.So Sopranos numbers should have a caveat next to it, IMO…

    I am sure HBO executives are aware of all this.Even is GoTs never breaks 4 million, with it’s international appeal and DVD sales and critical acclaim/buz, it still is a winner that will keep getting renewed…

    True, and GoT undoubtedly has a much higher % of people not watching first day.

    Sopranos drew between 9-11 million as a season average for the initial screening. Some of those numbers are a bit inflated because Nielsen was overrating, but given how many repeats HBO had, and that’s one screening, that’s impressive.

    That said, if GoT is over 10 million now, well, it’s not that far off from total viewers of the Sopranos, I’d bet. DVRs existed but were not ubiquitous then, internet streaming was minimal. So it was mostly repeats. Maybe they went from 11-13M? I don’t know, I’m sort of making that up. Maybe it was more.

  235. Steven Swanson
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Silver fox: Makes sense to me. No star power, no hype, no more word of mouth, strong book fans alienated by the show fans and by show runners. Etc.

    Silver fox: This proves HBO execs correct: spending more money on battles does not draw viewers.

    Silver fox: Steven Swanson, Huh?Hire a star and cut off his head. There’s money well spent. Battle episode? Not all that reverberatory among commoners. I’m sure the numbers will bounce up next week.

    Reposting in response to your “Huh?” Looks like you have an opinion and an agenda, and you’re interpreting this accordingly.

    And Sean Bean’s great, but does he really qualify as a “star”? I mean I have heard he’s fairly popular in Britain, but for most people in the US he’s pretty much Boromir.

    And is this really the kind of show that should depend on “star power” to draw in viewers considering the vast cast of characters and the fact that you’re not going to see your star for much of any episode? I’d think anybody superficial enough to tune into this show specifically for one popular actor is going to get bored by the intricacy of the story.

  236. Knurk
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Alan: True, and GoT undoubtedly has a much higher % of people not watching first day.

    Sopranos drew between 9-11 million as a season average for the initial screening.Some of those numbers are a bit inflated because Nielsen was overrating, but given how many repeats HBO had, and that’s one screening, that’s impressive.

    That said, if GoT is over 10 million now, well, it’s not that far off from total viewers of the Sopranos, I’d bet.DVRs existed but were not ubiquitous then, internet streaming was minimal.So it was mostly repeats.Maybe they went from 11-13M?I don’t know, I’m sort of making that up.Maybe it was more.

    Sopranos averaged 14.2 million total viewers in their last season.

  237. Straphe
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Hi guys!

    I know I’m gonna be off topic, forgive me, but I have a good reason: I’m gonna be attending a con this weekend, Collectormania, with seven GoT actors, and I have a press pass, so I can interview them. These are the actors present:
    James Momoa – Drogo
    Lena Headey – Cersei
    Natalia Tena – Osha
    David Bradley – Late Lord Frey
    Finn Jones – Loras Tyrell
    Roxanne McKee – Doreah
    Josef Altin – Pyp

    If you’ve got any good questions for any of the actors that haven’t been asked a million times, I’d be happy to ask them. :) Just write them in here or email them to me ([email protected]).

    Cheers.

  238. Silver fox
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Steven Swanson: I’d think anybody superficial enough to tune into this show specifically for one popular actor is going to get bored by the intricacy of the story.

    Agreed. Except most viewers are not superficial. Just casual.

    My only agenda is truth. Yours is GoT fandom.

  239. Arthur
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Silver fox,

    This show isn’t about “stars” per say, or main characters. It’s about families (houses). Lots of viewers, including myself view the Stark children as the main characters of the show and the “good guys”. While some other houses have other character favorites such as Dany or Tyrion that many people enjoy to follow.

    This story is mostly about what happens to the Stark children after Ned dies but GRRM also incorporates all the outside worldly events that are happening simultaneously that are of importance in regards to the Iron Thron.

    So we get Dany, Stannis, the Dornish as well as many other storylines. The only subject matter that tied them all together is the Iron Thron. But I personally think of this as a Stark story that also makes us fully aware of all the other characters that effect then directly or indirectly.

    The Starks are children are the “hero” of the story. But they aren’t against evil, just other people/families that are in direct competition with them.

  240. Joshua Taylor
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    Arthur,

    Dude don’t bother with Silver Fox, he/she is merely trying to push our buttons. Why? I don’t really know. I would like to think that he/she is performing some sort of kindness by having our hopes dashed for the show’s longevity. But I smell a troll. If he/she is not a troll then I apologize. But in my opinion no one goes on a web site of a show with a fanbase currently on an emotional high from the last episode and proceeds to cut it down without expecting a reaction. It’s a jerk move no matter which way you look at it.

    These ratings posts will always be trollbait.

    And people who utter phrases such as “my agenda is the truth” are either a) superhumanly earnest or b) full of crap.

    As GRRM says, “words are wind.”

  241. loco73
    Posted June 1, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    I sincerely doubt that this will really affect the show in any major way. These things are unpredictable. Summer is upon us, the holiday season is starting, so I guess that things of this nature are to be expected. I think that HBO has balls to keep airing the show, and I like that. One of the things that always seems to be the death of many shows on network tv are the lengthy breaks in between episodes, with people’s attention drifting away. But with HBO, baring something unexpected, I can always count to watch my favourite shows un-interrupted

    Showtime for example, did not air a new episode of “The Borgias” (at least in Canada, where the shows airs on Bravo) last week, choosing instead to skip Memorial Day week-end. AMC kept its shows, “Mad Men” and “The Killing” on-air, two shows that appropiately capped a wonderful evening of history making television, namely Episode 19, “Blackwater”.

    I was in love with GoT, before it ever aired a single episode, all naturally comming from being entirely taken by George RR Martin’s amazing “A Song Of Ice And Fire”. Sunday night that love and appreciation I have for the show and all the people involved in it was cemented beyond a shadow of a doubt.

    I have never been dissapointed by any episodes, on the contrary I see all of them as linked, part of the whole story arch which is being slowly told. Weiss and Benioff said very clearly that if the show gets a full 7-8 season run, they want the story to bee like one continous, giant 70-80 hour movie from beginning to end, so that if a fan sits down and watches all episodes they will clearly see the continuity string in each episode. Never felt dissapointed in the quality of any episode, the actors, the production values etc. Of course this is just my own opinion, nothing more.

    People are so obsessed with initial ratings, but from where I stand the show has been a steady and strong ratings winner so-far. Besides these days there are soo many ways to watch an episode. Sure, I myself make the effort to watch each and every episode live as it airs on Sunday night in its original slot, something which is NOT easy to always do, because I have a hectic schedule, including working night shifts…and then I see each episode multiple times, I try to stick to on-schedule re-broadcasts, but at least once I do watch the episode using the OnDemand feature.

    I feel that those are the real ratings that we need to look at, the ones that include the original airing, re-broadcasts, OnDemand and Internet viewings, plus of course in the longer run, Itunes and DVD/Blue-ray sales. My guess is that when all that is added up, HBO has a clear winner on its hands. The show is financially and critically successful, a build-in franchise with tremendous marketing potential, tie-in products and the like, and that is not for just per one season, but the upcoming ones also, should the series get a full run. Plus it has what other shows only hope to have, a build-in audience from the fans of the books, and the clear potential to attract new viewers, through word-of-mouth, viral promos and whatever other marketing tools there are.

    I have had a chance to speak to a lot of people who like this show, and I am always amazed at the variety and depth of fans it has managed to attract. And this is just the show mind you, you add the books to it, and the tapestry grows only richer. I hear nothing but good things about this show…last week I gave one of my co-workers one of those free-DVD copies of the pilot episode, and she had never read or watched any sci-fi or fantasy books or series before. Now she and her family are addicted, they bought the DVD set, she has it on her Ipod and they are planning to buy the books also. I think that the quality of the books and the show are something to be celebrated…but…

    Instead we are getting once again all the bitching and moanning from trolls and obsessive purists…I get it, not everyone will like the show, its normal, its not everybody’s taste or preferrence. Nor should people somehow be bullied or have to cowtow to the fans of the show. We can agree to disagree, but there is no need for idiotic and moronic comments…

    As for HBO’s other programmes, I have tried to stir clear from playing up favourites, I like most HBO shows and next to “Game Of Thrones”, I love “Boardwalk Empire” and do watch and like “True Blood”. I am watching the fourth season of “True Blood” again OnDemand right now and will see the next season as it premieres.

    “Game Of Thrones” did in no way, shape or form, destroy the enjoyment of the books for me, though at this point I have read only the first one…on the contrary it has made me appreciate “A Song Of Ice And Fire” even more, and pushed me to understand the craft and mastery of Martin’s work, and trully see how good a writer he is and how ASOIF towers over many literary works outhere…

    After the Season Two finale, I’ll do a marathon repead viewing of both seasons, and then I ‘ll spend the rest of the summer reading the remaining novels!!! Can’t wait!

  242. loco73
    Posted June 1, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Holly crap! Sorry for my overly, overly long comment…

  243. Steven Swanson
    Posted June 1, 2012 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Silver fox: Agreed. Except most viewers are not superficial. Just casual. My only agenda is truth. Yours is GoT fandom.

    Oh yes, truth leaks out of your every orifice.

    And “casual” viewers are great for general buzz and such (and despite your insistence there seems to be plenty of that), but what HBO really cares about are: Is this series convincing people to purchase and/or keep an HBO subscription? And are people purchasing the DVD’s? Casual viewers aren’t the main source of either category.

  244. loco73
    Posted June 1, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    I just wanted to quickly also point out, that “True Blood” really did not become as popular as it is until its later seasons, especially after season one and season two DVD and Blue-ray sales really picked up. “True Blood”, and rightly so, benefited from the whole “vampire craze”…LOL (from all the vampire related material of the past few years, it definitely holds top spot)…

    With “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” about to hit theatres in December, I think that GoT will most likely benefit from it…and that should be good news for fans…

  245. Knurk
    Posted June 1, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    Probably a too late comment for me so I’ll repeat it next week but: yes, the only ratings that really matter are the cumulative ones. But there’s no fun in those ratings because we simply can’t compare them, we get a number once every 3 weeks or so and we simply don’t know for which episodes it count. There is no trend in those numbers.

    So let’s assume the initial ratings still kind of suck next week but we have a final report of 10.5 million total viewers. Everyone will say: hurrah, 10.5 million! And I agree very much with that. But what if the first 5 episodes averaged 11 million, and the last 5 averaged 10 million. That would have been a trend I wanted to be informed about. So my guess (or hope?) is the initial viewership does give us an indication of how many people watch the show eventually, unless there are big factors like major sport events or holidays. Last year the ratings kept climbing and the total viewership kept climbing (even after the season ended it gained almost 500.000). This year it seems we have a steady group of viewers so it’ll probably stay at 10.3 million.

    One other factor is the buzz the initial ratings create. Just look at Luck, a show with zero buzz, it was not a must-see show. The initial ratings were around 500.000 yet the total viewers were somewhere around 4 million. People liked to watch that show but it was hardly watercoolerstuff, you just catch it later. True Blood and Game of Thrones howeever have a very front-loaded viewership, kind of like blockbuster movies where the first weekend accounts for 40-50% of total gross.

  246. Silver fox
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

    Silver fox:

    I’m sure the numbers will bounce up next week.

    Being always right is both a blessing and a curse.

  247. Steven Swanson
    Posted June 4, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

    Silver fox: This proves HBO execs correct: spending more money on battles does not draw viewers.

    You mean “always right” like this?


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