Last month, we heard that HBO was making a huge play in territories around the world, simultaneously broadcasting Game of Thrones Season 5 in more than 170 countries at the same time as it plays in the US. Unfortunately for UK fans, Sky Atlantic was not on the list of partners.
But now that has changed. The British broadcaster has announced that they will be following suit from next week’s episode, with the rest of Game of Thrones Season 5 airing at 2 a.m. on Monday mornings, at the same time as it plays in the US.
In all likelihood, the move (both by HBO in the first place and now Sky Atlantic) is to encourage fans not to pirate the show. And it also takes away the possibility of spoilers, provided you’re willing to stay up until three in the morning.
HBO’s flagship drama, already the most pirated TV show on the air right now, had the first four episodes of Season 5 leaked online, even before the first episode premiered in the States. That inevitably will have an impact into the number of people watching it as it airs, which in turn has likely spurred Sky Atlantic’s decision to fall in line with the other territories around the world.
Previously, many international viewers have had to wait months after the American broadcast for Game of Thrones to air in their countries. In the UK, Sky Atlantic is pretty good about airing most of their shows only one day after the US. But now UK viewers have the added option of watching it at the same time as their American counterparts.
The show will continue in its Monday 9 p.m. slot as well. But it does mean that viewers could also record the 2 a.m. slot and watch it either first thing in the morning before work or right after they get home, ahead of the 9 p.m. screening. Sky Atlantic reported this morning that the season premiere scored the channel its highest ever overnight rating with 1.6 million viewers.
Game of Thrones Season 5 will continue with its second episode, The House of Black and White, on Sunday at 9 p.m. on HBO in the US. The live simulcast will now air on Monday at 2 a.m. on Sky Atlantic in the UK, before a repeat screening at 9 p.m.