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First Episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ Final Season Breaks Record

LOS ANGELES: The first episode of the final season of “Game of Thrones” has been watched by 17.4 million viewers – a record-breaker for the series and HBO.

The channel said the 17.4 million viewers who watched Sunday’s episode either on TV or online represent a season-opening high for the fantasy saga.

The episode exceeded the previous series high of 16.9 million viewers for the Season 7 finale two years ago. Reflecting increasing audience fondness for streaming, HBO saw about a 50 percent increase in online viewing compared to last season’s finale. In comparison to the season-seven premiere, the streaming audience nearly doubled.

“Game of Thrones” ultimately averaged 32.8 million viewers per episode last season in cumulative TV and online viewership, HBO said.

The series set among warring families in the fictional kingdom of Westeros, which began in 2007, has become HBO’s biggest hit.