Sky has revealed that its simulcast of Game of Thrones Season 4 episode 1 ('Two Swords') was such a success that it will be repeating the practice with other big Sky Atlantic HD shows.
The first episode of Game of Thrones was available to watch on the channel at 2am on Monday, 7 April, to coincide with the 9pm ET premiere on Sunday, 6 April in the US on HBO. Because the show was to be repeated on Sky Atlantic HD that evening, it was expected that only die-hard fans would stay up so late to watch it. And after its screening, it was available as catch-up content on Sky+HD boxes, Sky Go and NOW TV anyway.
However, 537,000 people watched the 2am showing in the UK, almost as many as watched the 9pm repeat that evening (675,000). That meant over 1.2 million people tuned in to the episode in total, not including those that watched it via catch-up services. Admittedly, 105,000 of those watched both showings, but the end figures are still very impressive.
In comparison, Season 3's premiere episode was watched by 475,000.
The success has prompted Sky to strike a deal with Fox for the debut of the new Season of 24. The show marks a return to the small screen of Jack Bauer after a gap of four years and is based in the UK among other European locations. It will be shown on Sky at 1am on Tuesday, 6 May.
"If people like staying up for event TV, we are showing launch Ep of new series of 24 at 1am Tues 6th May, same time as NY," tweeted Stuart Murphy, head of Sky's entertainment channels.
He also previously hinted that Mad Men could get the same treatment when it starts next week.
Game of Thrones Season 4 episode 1 reportedly took down NOW TV for a brief period yesterday evening, much like the outage suffered by HBO Go in the States after its premiere of the show.