House of the Dragon has enjoyed some spectacular viewership numbers over its first two episodes, but the streak couldn't last forever. Nielsen ratings reports are now coming in, and they mark the first ever ratings decline for House of the Dragon since the show premiered on August 21st. According to reports, House of the Dragon's viewership fell by 28.6% – or 1 million cable viewers – after Episode 3, resulting in approximately 2.5 million viewers tuning in across the four cable airings of the show on Sunday night. Previously, House of the Dragon had seen a 9.4% increase from 3.2M viewers for Episode 1, to 3.5M viewers for Episode 2.
There are some key notes to the figures above – first and foremost being that these ratings figures are compiled from HBO broadcast viewership for House of the Dragon – they do not figure in the HBO Max viewership numbers, or ratings from additional platforms where the show streams. Variety notes that Warner Bros. Discovery chose not to report the streaming numbers for House of the Dragon Episode 3, despite doing so for Episodes 1 and 2.
The streaming numbers are key to this equation before any real measure of House of the Dragon's viewership trends can be taken. Episode 1 of the Game of Thrones spinoff drew 9.99M total viewers on premiere night across broadcast and streaming platforms; Episode 2 saw a 2% increase with 10.2M viewers. With that big variation between broadcast and streaming audiences, it will be interesting to see how much the streaming viewers brought to Episode 3 – as well as what the On Demand and DVR figures look like after first-night viewings.
House of the Dragon had the immense benefit of being the only major TV event show to be released in the super-dry season of late August end-of-summer/back-to-school, when audiences get settled back in for the Sunday night appointment TV viewing that precedes the work/school week – the same was even more true for Episode 2 of House of the Dragon, which came with the start of September. Episode 3 arrived during the Labor Day holiday; many people were traveling, and TV was offering other big premieres like Rick and Morty Season 6, Prime Video's Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power debut, or no less than three major Wrestling events (all of which we discuss on the latest ComicBook Nation podcast).
That's all to say: the dip in ratings is to be expected – and really may not look all that bad in context, once streaming and second-day viewings are tallied.
House of the Dragon airs new episodes Sundays on HBO and HBO Max.1comments