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Game of Thrones has biggest season ever as streaming boosts HBO's viewership

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HBO Now was a big player this year

Game of Thrones averaged a record-breaking 25.1 million viewers during its sixth season, HBO announced today, with a large part of that increase in viewership credited to HBO Now.

Now — the network's streaming service which launched last year but wasn't available in time for Game of Thrones — and HBO Go helped lead to an increase of more than five million viewers, according to the network. The network also confirmed that 40 percent of weekly viewing was conducted via digital streaming, which made for a combined 91 percent increase overall compared to last season.

Essentially, HBO has discovered, like other networks, that people are cutting the cord and subscribing to digital streaming services instead. With the boosted viewership from streaming, Game of Thrones remained the number one show on HBO, and even managed to secure additional ratings through people's DVR usage.

Silicon Valley also benefited from the addition of HBO Now, and saw its most popular season to date. The third season of Mike Judge's satirical series, which revolves around a start-up in San Francisco, averaged 6.7 million viewers compared to last season's 6.1 million. Forty percent of its viewership came from HBO Now and HBO Go, according to the network.

HBO is looking into creating better experiences for HBO Now and Go subscribers, and working out the kinks that can sometimes pop up — like the service being down during periods of high volume, such as a season premiere or finale of Game of Thrones.


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