Amazon Prime's The Grand Tour was always going to be hotly anticipated. Presenter Jeremy Clarkson was removed from his previous show, Top Gear, by the BBC after punching a producer and fellow presenters Richard Hammond and James May would soon follow Clarkson out of the door, promising to continue their motoring high jinks on a new network. That network would eventually be revealed as Amazon Prime - and with the money of Jeff Bezos behind them and the latest series of Top Gear floundering with new presenters, The Grand Tour was primed to become the world's foremost car entertainment show.
The presenting trio have a loyal, established audience both in their native United Kingdom and around the world and subsequently, their new series quickly broke records for Amazon Prime, becoming the online streaming service's most watched premiere. The Grand Tour has attracted generally positive reviews from fans and critics too, despite a change in format from the trio's Top Gear days that sees less celebrity appearances and an arguably more gimmick-based approach.
It now appears, however, that the series isn't just flourishing on its legal platform but on illegal ones too. Piracy experts MUSO (via Mail Online) have published findings that confirm The Grand Tour to be the most illegally watched show ever. The series' first episode is estimated to have been pirated 7.9 million times, with the second outing registering at 6.4 million and subsequent episodes decreasing from there. Unsurprisingly, given the presenting trio's background, a large chunk of the pirates come from the U.K., equating to an approximate £3.2 million loss in subscription fees for Amazon. Chris Elkins, MUSO's Chief Commercial Office states:
"It is the most illegally downloaded programme ever. It is off the scale in terms of volume. It has overtaken every big show, including Game Of Thrones, for the totals across different platforms. We monitor thousands of campaigns and this one really stands out."
For their part, Amazon have refused to comment on the news, simply claiming: "The Grand Tour has become the biggest show premiere ever on Amazon Prime Video, breaking records around the world."
Of course, when a show achieves legitimate popularity, it only makes logical sense that the pattern would continue on illegal platforms. However, as MUSO's findings suggest, The Grand Tour is very much standing out from other heavily pirated series such as Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead which have a degree of proportionality between their legal and illegal viewership. For The Grand Tour to become the most pirated show ever, overtaking many other highly popular properties, is quite a feat.
A large part of the reason for this could be Clarkson, Hammond and May's switch from regular television to an online streaming platform. As part of BBC programming, Top Gear was available readily in the United Kingdom for all who pay their TV License and the broadcasting company sold the show around the world to other mainstream channels; meaning most territories could watch it as part of their standard selection of networks or a basic cable package. By moving to Amazon Prime, viewers were essentially being asked to pay to watch a series they were previously getting as part of their regular TV package.
Despite Amazon's public response to the news not giving much away, the company are sure to be troubled by the heavy loss of potential revenue. However, as long as The Grand Tour keeps delivering on Amazon Prime and with the massive potential in sales of the season 1 box set still to come, the streaming service is unlikely to give up on The Grand Tour any time soon - with Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May still clearly as popular as ever.
The Grand Tour continues December 16th on Amazon Prime.
Source: Mail Online