Amazon declines to comment on Outlander reports
Staff Reporter | On 11, Feb 2015
Amazon has declined to comment on reports that it has bought the UK rights to the US TV series Outlander.
The show, based on novels by US author Diana Gabaldon, follows Claire Randell, a nurse from the 1940s who is swept back to 1743 Scotland. There, she falls in love with Highland warrior Jamie Fraser, just as civil conflict unfolds.
The books were first published in 1991, selling millions of copies around the world before arriving on US TV last summer. The series, which premiered on Starz, had a reported budget of over £50 million and was filmed in locations such as the Royal Mile in Edinburgh and Loch Ness. Despite attracting five million viewers for its first eight episodes, though, the show is yet to be broadcast in the UK.
Broadcast reported this week that Amazon had nabbed the rights for Prime, which would make the show’s first run in this country exclusively available to its VOD subscribers.
However, Amazon has not confirmed the reports.
“We have not made any announcements on this. As a company we do not comment on speculation or rumour,” a spokesperson told the BBC.
Some fans, though, were angry at the reports.
“Fans in the UK were looking forward to Outlander being on a standard television station – such as Sky1 or E4 or BBC4,” Angela Sasso, of Outlandish UK, a fan site for the TV series and books, told Scotland Now.
“We know the show is high quality drama with an incredible story, cinematography, and feeling of authenticity. We wanted the whole of the UK to watch it together, to have those “Monday-morning-water-cooler” chats when a television show is all the rage.
“Showing on Amazon Prime, we won’t get that hype, the audience will be more limited – and lots of geographic areas struggle with broadband.”
While Amazon has not officially announced the potential deal, though, its digital video strategy has previously involved targeting shows with built-in fanbases to encourage them to sign up. Last year, Ripper Street was resurrected for a third season, after it was cancelled by the BBC. It is also the exclusive UK home of Constantine, Black Sails and Vikings, deals that would be the most similar to the one rumoured to be signed by the retailer. The latter two are available to pay-per-view customers, who don’t have to subscribe to Prime to access the shows.
Netflix, meanwhile, has succeeded in generating water cooler-style buzz around its shows, despite the lack of traditional TV broadcast, primarily through social media. According to Facebook, Orange Is the New Black was the second most talked about TV show of 2014.