The Grand Tour breaks Amazon streaming record

Alex Kidman 23 November 2016

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Amazon's don't-call-it-Top-Gear series is the retail giant's most successful show to date.

Amazon’s The Grand Tour made its debut last Friday without a sniff of a deal being done with any Australian broadcast or streaming TV provider, although rumours had circulated that Stan was looking into securing the series.

Instead Amazon took the unusual step of making Amazon Prime video available to Australian consumers with a credit card and nothing else if you went to the trouble of signing up for either a US or UK Amazon Prime account. That would score you expedited shipping to US or UK addresses plus access to the Amazon Prime video vault, but without a VPN, only Amazon’s own in-house programming for which it holds global rights to are available. Naturally, that includes The Grand Tour.

So how well did The Grand Tour do? Amazon hasn’t released exact figures, instead stating in a release that "millions of Prime members" streamed the first episode in the US, UK, Germany, Austria and Japan. Those are the markets where "full" Amazon Prime is available, but presumably Australian viewing figures have been thrown in there as well.

Amazon hasn’t officially launched Prime here, going so far as to specifically state last week that its Grand Tour streaming was due to customers signing up for US or UK accounts, and the fact that it’s not geoblocking that specific content. It’s also worth bearing in mind that unlike rival Netflix, Amazon’s own original content is still relatively nascent, with the show beating out its previous most popular title, The Man in The High Castle.

The next episode of The Grand Tour should be available in Australia around 11am on Friday, and will come from Johannesburg, South Africa as part of the show’s "big tent" gimmick that sees it recorded in different global locations each week.

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