Will Game of Thrones save Sky’s Blushes?

Game of Thrones UK premier of 1.07 million viewers gives sky atlantic its first real success after 2 months.

Though a lot has been made of HBO’s healthy viewing figures for Game of Thrones in the states, being a UK based fan site, we are much more interested in how the show has perfomed in the UK.

As you may have seen from earlier posts I am not a fan of Sky, News Corp, or Rupert Murdoch, and I was dismayed by HBO’s decision to tie in with SKY in the UK.

Up until this point Sky executives must have been worrying about viewing figures for the new channel. Previous best figures were for Boardwalk Empire on the launch night of the new series which averaged 438,000 viewers for its premier.

This sounds like fair figures, but the story hasn’t generally been rosy for Sky Atlantic. Entourage which on ITV2 was regularly getting 200,000 visitors, only received 18,000 for its series premier on Sky.

Sky’s response from Mike Darcey, chief operating officer of BSkyB was to claim that he didn’t look at ratings any more and he stopped looking at the results “a long time ago”, that he was more concerned with column inches written, “We will look at success in a different way”.

My reading of the comments and figures is that Sky Atlantic was in deep trouble, and looking like becoming a very expensive flop!

However figures in for Game of Thrones have come in very healthy with an average of 743,000 viewers watching live on Monday night and overall figures of 1.07 million viewers when time shift viewing is taken into consideration.

I wonder if Mr Darcey has looked at those figures? or is he still only interested in column inches?

Obviously good news for SKY, but is it good news for HBO and Game of Thrones? Well if they had opted for the show to be seen on one of free to air, the channels most of us in the UK would of liked to have seen it on (E4, BBC2, More 4 ) we would have seen much higher viewing figures, probably in the region of 2.4 to 2.6 million as Sky Atlantic is only in approx 40% of UK households, and its traditional subscriber base doesn’t really match HBO’s intelligent output very well.

I belive this figures suggest that HBO have a show that would of been an absolute smash in the UK if it was not on Sky, but on a more accessible channel.