The season seven premiere of HBO’s global hit, Game of Thrones, debuted to 16.1 million viewers across both the live linear airing and streaming platforms.

The premiere marked a series ratings high, up 27 percent the approximately eight million viewers who tuned in for both the season five and six premieres. The sixth season finale — “The Winds of Winter,” widely regarded as the show’s best episode yet — saw 8.9 million same-day viewers.

When all plays are added up — including live plus three and live-plus-seven day views — season six of Game of Thrones averaged 25.7 million viewers, making it the most-watched show in HBO’s history. This year, subscribers to Hulu can add HBO for the first time, and that might help grow the show’s audience even further.

The show also beat its own Twitter record, with 2.4 million tweets and 3.4 million mentions online. Pop singer Ed Sheeran’s “surprise” cameo scored the most social activity, with nearly 68,000 mentions.

HBO also had some technical difficulties with its streaming services, and subscribers took to social media to complain about it. Twitter saw nearly 24,000 mentions of the outage around premiere time at 9 p.m. ET, according to social data intelligence company Talkwalker. Many of the digital snafus originated on HBO Latin America, which is operated by a separate company, reports Variety.

When Game of Thrones premiered in 2011, it attracted a comparatively paltry 2.2 million viewers, reports The Hollywood Reporter. The show’s viewership has grown every season, with viewers easily able to catch up via streaming apps and on-demand viewing.

Season seven of the show is shortened to seven episodes, with the series’ final six episodes expected in 2018 or 2019. HBO also is working on four possible spin-offs, two of them with the aid of Song of Ice and Fire author George R. R. Martin.

RELATED: HBO Considering Four Possible ‘Game of Thrones’ Spin-Offs

READ MORE: The Hollywood Reporter, The Wrap

[Image courtesy of HBO/Helen Sloan via The Hollywood Reporter]


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