PARIS: The most expensive, most watched, most pirated and most award-festooned fictional television series in history… As “Game of Thrones” starts its eighth and final season on April 14, AFP looks back on its record-breaking run.
First broadcast in 2011 on the US cable channel HBO, “Game of Thrones” — or GoT to its fans — was not an overnight phenomenon. But its audiences have never stopped growing and by 2014 it had overtaken HBO´s flagship hit, “The Sopranos”.
By its seventh season in 2017, viewing figures were stratospheric. Its final episode set an all-time US record for premium cable TV with 16.5 million people watching live or streaming on the day of transmission and 15 million more tuning in later.
Viewing records also tumbled in many of the 186 countries in which it was shown, with Britain´s Sky Atlantic and OCS in France showing episodes in the middle of the night in sync with their US premieres.
But the figures become truly mind-boggling when illegal downloading is taken into account, with more than one billion people watching pirated copies of the seventh season.
The eighth run-out for “Game of Thrones” is reportedly the most expensive season of TV ever shot, with a budget of $15 million (13 million euros) per episode, taking the overall season cost to $90 million.