Lured by “Game of Thrones,” cord-cutters have sent HBO’s streaming app to number one

Money maker.
Money maker.
Image: HBO
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If you’re judging by what’s happening in Apple’s App Store, Game of Thrones is currently generating more money than hookups, music streaming, crushing candy, and any of the lot of weird shows Netflix has on offer.

For two days in a row, HBO Now—the company’s $15-a-month standalone service, distinct from its HBO Go app for cable subscribers—was the App Store’s top-grossing app, bringing in more cash than the regular big earners, including Pandora and Tinder, Mashable reports. That also puts it ahead of its biggest rival, Netflix. Users who download the free app can pay to subscribe to HBO—and the ranking suggests that a huge number are.

The figures show what huge demand there is for the show, even with rampant piracy. Despite leaks and a hacked release of a key episode, HBO is still finding bigger and bigger audiences. This new season of HBO’s massive hit about frozen zombies and epic dragon-led train battles has been luring large numbers of cord-cutters to its app since the show returned in July.

In the first week following the premiere, HBO Now was downloaded more than 500,000 times, causing a surge in revenue among users who weren’t just signing up for a free trial but also subscribing to HBO. “On the day of the premiere, HBO Now saw four times the downloads compared with the average daily downloads of the 30 days prior,” TechCrunch reported at the time. ”More remarkably, it was able to sustain this daily download bump for four days after the premiere. This led to over 500,000 downloads of the app across both the Apple App Store and Google Play in the US, and a 3x increase in revenue on the day of the premiere.”

The last time the app reached number one in the US was in May 2016, according to App Annie, an app-store analytics firm. Not by coincidence, that happened to be right in the middle of season six of Game of Thrones.