Game of Thrones simulcast will now apply to UK and Ireland too
Irish viewers will be able to catch all future episodes of the show at 2am on Monday mornings
A few weeks ago, HBO announced that it was planning to simultaneously broadcast (or "simulcast") Game of Thrones in 170 countries across the world. Crucially, however, the decision would not apply to the UK and Ireland, where viewers planning to catch the show on Sky Atlantic would be forced to wait an extra day.
Now, in an apparant reversal of its original plans, Sky Atlantic has announced that it will broadcast all future episodes of the show at the same time as the US showing.
"When HBO announced their simulcast plans, some of our customers told us they wanted to be able to watch with the US and this is why we are now planning to simulcast episodes 2-10 at 2am GMT," Sky Atlantic said in a post on its website. "It will also be available On Demand shortly afterwards."
While some viewers certainly did complain about Sky's decision not to simulcast – one fan even started a change.org petition – it seems likely that the new change in broadcast time is linked to concerns about piracy. Last weekend, four episodes of the show were leaked online, while a recent study indicated that illegal downloading of the show had increased by 45% worldwide ahead of the season five premiere.
According to the latest figures from Sky Atlantic, the premiere episode achieved a live audience of 1567 thousand people, and achieved a 6.72% share of viewing in all homes. These numbers represent an increase of 29% from last year.