HBO’s “House of the Dragon” has released its full pilot for free viewing on YouTube. The move — likely a promotional play to bring those not already tuning in to the appointment viewing — coincides with the premiere of Prime Video’s competing fantasy series based on existing IP, “The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power,” on Sept. 1.
The “Game of Thrones” spinoff has already logged nearly 85,000 views on the platform, and has since been geo-blocked as a way of restricting access to locations where HBO Max is available. It is also, for obvious reasons, age-restricted.
While “House of the Dragon” traces the battle for the Iron Throne among the Targaryen clan, another fight is shaping out in real life between the two big-budget genre shows for the ultimate crown — that of the highest viewership. Both studios have poured in millions of dollars into their respective series — a reported near $200 million for “HoTD” and whopping $462 million for “Rings of Power” — in hopes of grabbing audiences’ dwindling attention.
Regardless of performance, the latter show already has a five-season arc planned, and the former was quickly renewed for a second season following its blockbuster premiere (though it will continue without former showrunner Miguel Sapochnik).
While “Rings of Power” just released, and has yet to reveal its viewership numbers, “HoTD” netted an impressive 10 million linear and streaming viewers upon its premiere. Later, it achieved an even rarer feat by seeing a 2% increase in viewership with Episode 2. With Nielsen streaming charts yet to be released for the first week of September, all eyes will be peeled to see which show comes out on top.