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Game of Thrones breaks its own viewership record before season 6 finale

HBO says it's mainly due to streaming

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HBO Now may have been down for this season's biggest Game of Thrones episode, "Battle of the Bastards", but HBO is crediting streaming as one of the main reasons Game of Thrones is seeing its biggest season yet in terms of ratings.

According to recent data, more than 23 million people tuned in for "Battle of the Bastards," after all avenues for viewing were taken into consideration — streaming, playback on DVRs, repeat viewings after the episode has aired and, of course, the original episode. That's a solid increase from last year's numbers, and marks a 15 percent rise in viewership overall from last season, even with the finale still looming on the horizon.

Most interesting, according to data collected by USA Today, while live viewership on Sundays increased 6 percent overall, viewing on platforms like HBO Go and HBO Now shot up 70 percent. It's because of those numbers that HBO is crediting its streaming platform with the record-breaking numbers for Game of Thrones.

There's still one episode left in the season, "The Winds of Winter", which will air this Sunday at 9 p.m. ET. After this season, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss are hoping to conclude the show with two shortened seasons, but HBO has yet to confirm whether those plans have been cemented.

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