Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX.DL) HBO confirmed that total viewership for this season of Game of Thrones (18.4 million per episode) passed the 2002 season of The Sopranos (18.2 million), making it the network's most popular show ever. Given what an absolute cultural phenomenon The Sopranos was, that's pretty impressive.
But The Sopranos was the product of a different television era, with DVRs, on-demand, and online streaming viewing still largely futuristic talking points. At the time, its audience skewed heavily toward first-run broadcasts. In an era where Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) and Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) are just as much rivals to HBO as Showtime or Starz, the way we watch television across the past 12 years has changed dramatically. The percentage of people who watch Game of Thrones as first-run TV on Sunday night is relatively low compared with its total audience size, but lots of on-demand, DVR, and online viewings have pushed the series to the top..
In this episode of The Next, Motley Fool tech analyst Eric Bleeker and Rule Breakers analyst Simon Erickson talk about how multiple viewing platforms is shaping viewing habits, as well as how production of original programming is changing in an era where between cable, premium channels like Time Warner's HBO, and online subscription products like Netflix and Amazon Prime, consumers have more choice than ever.