HBO’s worldwide subscriber base had risen steadily from 2010 to 2014, when it peaked at 138 million subscribers. In 2016, HBO had 134 million subscribers worldwide, with approximately a third of those subscribers residing in the United States, demonstrating HBO’s popularity both domestically and overseas. According to a 2016 survey, 31% of respondents in the United States reported that they subscribed to the network.
The number of weekly viewers of HBO in the United States has been steadily declining since autumn 2015. In spring 2017, approximately 43.74 million Americans had watched HBO on the television in the previous seven days, compared with approximately 45.09 million viewers two years prior. In spite of this, HBO’s annual subscription revenue has risen from approximately 3.77 billion U.S. dollars in 2011 to five billion U.S. dollars in 2016. Additionally, HBO headed the list of cable TV channels that U.S. consumers were willing to pay the most for in the second quarter of 2017.
Much of this popularity can be attributed to the variety of original programming that has helped HBO distinguish itself from other subscription television networks on the air. Perhaps the most well-known series currently on HBO is Game of Thrones, based on a series of fantasy novels by George R.R. Martin, which has recently aired its seventh season and has been renewed for an eighth season. Since the shows inception in 2011, the number of viewers per episode has risen from 2.51 million in Season 1 to 7.72 million in Season 6. The number of viewers of the season 7 finale in 2017 reached approximately 12.1 million, nearly five times the number of viewers per episode for season 1.