HBO Now, premium cable channel HBO's standalone streaming service, more than quadrupled downloads for its mobile app on the day of the season 7 premiere of "Game of Thrones," July 16, Variety reported. Downloads stayed elevated after the debut, rising to more than 500,000 for Apple's App Store and Google Play during the following week, the publication said.
HBO Now's app rose in the rankings from 11th place to third place for combined iOS and Android revenue on July 16, only behind the popular mobile games "Candy Crush Saga" and "Clash of Clans," according to data from researcher App Annie cited by Variety. Before the "Game of Thrones" premiere, HBO Now's app ranked 29th in the entertainment category for downloads from Apple's App Store and Google Play combined. It shot up to 15th place for downloads among all categories of apps in the week after the premiere.
HBO Go, the network's authenticated streaming app for existing cable subscribers, reported that downloads more than tripled the day of the season premiere and the two following days compared with the previous 30-day average. In-app revenue also tripled on the day of the season premiere from the prior-month average, according to App Annie.
Mobile technology is helping networks like HBO to reach a broader audience of people who are cutting the cord on cable TV in favor of more customized streaming services. "Game of Thrones" has broken viewership records for the network, and the app download data from App Annie only confirms that mobile platforms are playing a bigger role in driving that growth. Over-the-top streaming services are seeing similar success via their mobile apps, with Netflix growing mobile app revenue 233% in Q2.
HBO heavily promoted the "Game of Thrones" return on mobile platforms, including through a Snapchat lens that reached 45 million people, according to the platform. The lens, which transformed selfies of Snapchatters into ice zombies from the show, had a record 122 million impressions for a TV show-sponsored lens and prolonged engagement times with mobile users.
The "Game of Thrones" season 7 premiere generated audience growth of 50% from the prior season to 16.1 million viewers, according to Entertainment Weekly, making for a new record for HBO. The audience number includes repeats, streaming and DVR. The show also generated 2.4 million tweets, the most ever for the fantasy series.