Amazon is now letting Australians watch Amazon Prime video
Amazon’s video streaming service is accepting Australian sign-ups - and showing The Grand Tour.
As we noted earlier in the week, the heavily-hyped The Grand Tour is due to appear on Amazon’s Prime video streaming service all over the planet... except for in Australia, where Amazon Prime has yet to launch.
Rumours had swirled that Amazon would have a big glitzy launch of the service here, possibly as a precursor to the long-rumoured rumours of the retail giant launching a full online sales service here sometime in 2017. The Grand Tour team were quick to release a mocking video noting worldwide availability in December, with a specific nod towards Australian viewers.
We may not have to wait until December, however, as Amazon’s barrier to entry for those who were keen to get into Amazon Prime video appears to softened.
With a tip of the hat to Lifehacker, it appears that while previously you’d need a VPN and a US-based credit card to watch Prime video titles, now all you need is a relevant credit card. An Australian credit card, even, which presumably means that either Amazon’s about to launch services here officially, or it’s taking much the same approach that Netflix used to take with regards to its streaming services prior to its Australian launch, namely not caring about the origin of the funding service. It's worth noting that prices are still in US dollars, which could lead to a pricing disparity if Amazon does "officially" launch with proper Australian dollar prices.
Amazon is taking it a step further, however, offering up actual video content without the requirement of a VPN, or at least partially. Some titles don’t appear to work (most notably those that seem to already have an Australian streaming home) and it’s not yet clear if we will in fact be able to access The Grand Tour when the first episode goes live today, or if we'll have to hang around until next month. We’ll have to wait and see.
Update: The first episode of The Grand Tour is indeed streaming now through Amazon Prime for Australian audiences without the need for a VPN.
Amazon has also issued a statement confirming that this isn't a full launch:
We have not launched Amazon Prime in Australia. The service some Australians have signed-up for is the US or UK Prime Membership, which provides free, fast shipping within the US or UK, as well as access to some Amazon Originals, such as The Grand Tour, where we have the global rights.