The Grand Tour “most illegally downloaded programme ever”
James R | On 12, Dec 2016
The Grand Tour is the most illegally downloaded programme ever, according to one website.
The new motoring show, which reunites Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, was produced by Amazon as an exclusive for its Prime Video streaming service – the kind of high-profile original designed to rival those of its competitor, Netflix. Many fans, though, may have chosen to download the show illegally rather than pay for it, suggests new research.
Data analysts Muso shared figures with The Mail on Sunday, which claim that unprecedented numbers are pirating the series, rather than sign up for Amazon’s subscription service. The data says the first episode was downloaded illegally 7.9 million times, a number that lowered to 6.4 million for the second and 4.6 million for the third. The show is only available in the US, UK, Germany and Japan at present, with a global launch coming this month. Nonetheless, Brits were the biggest offenders, making up 13.7 per cent of illegal downloaders.
The new show from the former Top Gear trio debuted on 18 November, and Amazon, which has extended its streaming service to 200 countries, has said only that “millions” of people streamed the first episode. Even the programme’s stars say they are not privy to the official viewing figures.
Chris Elkins, chief commercial officer at the company, told the newspaper: “It is the most illegally downloaded programme ever. It is off the scale in terms of volume.”
Indeed, the figures are reportedly higher than other big shows, such as Game of Thrones.
“We monitor thousands of campaigns and this one really stands out,” he added.
If true, the figures mark a blow for Amazon, which is thought to have spent £130 million on a three-season deal for The Grand Tour. Muso estimates that Amazon could have lost up to £3.2 million in revenue in the UK just for its first episode.
It has, nonetheless, been a success for Amazon, Episode 1 already announced as being the most-watched Amazon original ever over its opening weekend. A number of the millions tuning in would have been first-time members of Amazon’s Amazon Prime membership, which costs £79 a year and includes Prime Video and Spotify rival Prime Music. Indeed, Amazon offered the annual membership at a discounted £59 on the week The Grand Tour premiered. Recent research from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners pegs the estimated number of Amazon Prime customers at 63 million internationally and at 2 million in the UK. While the data is unofficial, it illustrates to some degree how much headway Amazon still has to make among UK streaming audiences – it will be interesting to see Consumer Intelligence’s next figures, post-The Grand Tour.
However, what many publications, including The Mail on Sunday, do not make clear, is that Amazon Prime Video is available without the year-long subscription and hefty fee, for £5.99 a month, no contract. Either way, the service is cheaper than Netflix, which costs £7.49 a month for the standard package. For our reviews of The Grand Tour, plus how to watch it online, click here.