The Grand Tour kicks off this week, but not in Australia
Clarkson, Hammond and May are nowhere in sight down under - yet.
So all the rumours came to nothing. On Friday 18 November US time (that's this Saturday in Australia), The Grand Tour, which is effectively Top Gear 3.0, will make its debut on Amazon Prime, returning Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May to our screens with a new episode every week for 12 weeks. But not in Australia. Despite much speculation, Amazon Prime has not launched in Australia using The Grand Tour as a promotional vehicle, and the series hasn't been sold to Stan either.
Amazon has launched a major promotional blitz for the series, offering a $20 discount on Prime membership right now ahead of its debut and setting up a "skill" for its Amazon Echo devices that lets you access additional footage by answering trivia questions based on each week's show. Again, this won't be available to Australians. There are sneaky ways to import an Echo, but Amazon doesn't officially offer it down under.
Arguably, the former Top Gear team aren't quite the draw they once were in Australia. Ratings for Top Gear declined steadily when it moved from SBS to Nine, and the most recent series (which didn't feature the original trio) wasn't a big drawcard on pay TV. But the fact that no-one has negotiated a deal underlines that Australia is still very much a second-class citizen in the world of streaming media.
Update: in this video, the team suggest the show will be broadcast worldwide from December. We'll keep an eye out. But we won't be getting the Echo integration, clearly.
Update update: Amazon has softened its access conditions in Australia, with The Grand Tour on the menu if you're willing to pay for a US or UK Prime account. We live in interesting times indeed.
Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.
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