Vikings sets UK ratings record for History

VikingsThe opening instalment of drama series Vikings has become the most-watched programme ever on the History channel in the UK.

The Norse drama won an initial 160,000 viewers for A+E Networks’ History on May 13, but a consolidated audience of 678,000. The consolidated figure incorporates timeshifted viewing in the week after the original transmission.

The consolidated number for Vikings makes it the most-popular show ever within the ‘factual’ group of channels in which History resides on the BSkyB pay TV platform, displacing previous most-watched show in that category, Deadliest Catch, on Discovery.

History said the actual number of total viewers for the show, factoring in its two subsequent repeats and time-shifting, is 864,000.

The initial numbers for episode two of the show reveal 101,000 live viewers tuned in, rising to 230,000 a day later.

Vikings has proved a big hit on History in the US. Season one had ratings mega-hit The Bible as a lead-in and regularly topped six million viewers. Season two opened with 3.6 million viewers back in February, concluding in May with 3.4 million. Production on season three will get underway this summer for a 2015 launch.

Amazon Prime Instant Video (fka Lovefilm) has exclusive first-window rights to Vikings and recently claimed it was the most-watched show on its UK streaming service. However, Amazon refused to give any numbers to back up the claim, telling TBI that it was ‘sensitive data’.