‘Chernobyl’ has become a big hit for HBO, and shows audiences are sticking around after the end of ‘Game of Thrones’

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  • 52% of viewers watched HBO’s “Chernobyl” on HBO Go, HBO Now, and other digital platforms, according to Deadline, breaking the premium network’s digital-viewership percentage record.
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  • No other HBO series has ever topped 50%, even “Game of Thrones” in its recent final season.
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  • “Chernobyl” has a cumulative audience so far of 8 million viewers.
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  • It shows that audiences won’t give up on HBO just because “Game of Thrones” is over, despite a widely-circulated survey last month that suggested many HBO Now subscribers could cancel.
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  • “While ‘Game of Thrones’ may serve as a great ambassador for the HBO brand, there is still lots of other highly acclaimed HBO content,” Toby Holleran, a senior analyst at Ampere Analysis, recently told Business Insider.
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  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

It didn’t take long for HBO to find another hit TV series after “Game of Thrones.”

“Chernobyl,” a five-episode miniseries about the 1986 nuclear disaster that premiered on May 6 and wrapped up on June 3, has grown into a sensation.

“Chernobyl” has a cumulative audience – across all platforms, including linear and digital – of 8 million so far, according to Deadline. As far as HBO miniseries go, it’s more than “Sharp Objects” (7.3 million), and close to this year’s third season of “True Detective” (8.1 million).

Critics love the series, too, and it has a 96% critic score on Rotten Tomatoes. The Atlantic called it a “thorough historical analysis, a gruesome disaster epic … and a mostly riveting drama.”

52% of viewers watched the miniseries on HBO’s streaming services, HBO Go and HBO Now, and other OTT platforms, according to Deadline, breaking the premium network’s digital-viewership percentage record. No HBO series has ever topped 50% in this regard, and the highest “Game of Thrones” ever got was 46%, even during its recent final season.

The fact that so many viewers are watching “Chernobyl” via digital platforms, whereas the majority of people watched “Game of Thrones” live, suggests that positive word of mouth is pushing people to catch up on the series.

READ MORE: Why the end of ‘Game of Thrones’ doesn’t spell doom for HBO, despite some subscribers saying they’ll cancel

Still, viewership for “Chernobyl” is nowhere near “Game of Thrones.” The “Game of Thrones” finale alone was watched by 19.3 million viewers across all platforms in its first day, easily beating the previous series high, which was the penultimate episode with 18.4 million viewers. 13.6 million viewers tuned in to the 9 p.m. airing of the finale.

But the success of “Chernobyl” is great news for HBO, and shows that audiences haven’t given up on the network just because “Game of Thrones” is over. A widely-circulated survey last month suggested 20% of HBO Now subscribers could cancel after “Game of Thrones” ended, but experts told Business Insider that surveys tend to exaggerate these kinds of behaviors.

“While ‘Game of Thrones’ may serve as a great ambassador for the HBO brand, there is still lots of other highly acclaimed HBO content, ranging from dramas such as ‘Westworld’ and ‘Chernobyl’ to comedies like ‘Barry’ and ‘Silicon Valley,'” Toby Holleran, a senior analyst at Ampere Analysis, recently told Business Insider.