Hey. Amazon? It’s me, Australia. We haven’t been properly introduced, but we have a closer relationship than you realise. I’m really good mates with your best friend America, and we’ve actually run into each other a couple of times in the past — at that Kindle party, and once in the supermarket. Everyone says you’re the guy that knows all the cool stuff about robots and Nerf guns.
Hey, so, anyway. There was that time where you told one of my Aussie pals about this great new TV show you’d been working on. How’s that going, by the way?
The Grand Tour, if you haven’t heard of it, is a new television show on the internet about three old white British guys who drive around in fast cars and crash into each other and generally cock about a bit. It’s the spiritual successor to the wildly popular Top Gear and stars the three hosts that turned that show into the worldwide success that it was. And it’s a production from Amazon, which reportedly threw an almost unlimited stack of cash to entice the trio — TGT possibly the most expensive television series ever created, costing the online shopping giant as much as $US250 million for 36 episodes.
But how are we going to watch it in Oz?
In Australia, we’re lucky enough to get access to Amazon’s Kindle e-readers and ebook store, and you can buy plenty of items on Amazon.com’s everything store that will ship to Australia — although usually at a hefty shipping fee, sometimes enough to cancel out the value of buying it cheaply internationally in the first place. What we don’t get is Amazon Prime, the two-day shipping service that is apparently incredibly popular across the States — which also includes access free books and a Netflix-rivaling video service called Prime Video.
Prime Video is where The Grand Tour will live online. For the US and UK, at least.
But here’s the rub. Because we don’t get Prime, we don’t get Prime Video, and that means we don’t have any direct access to The Grand Tour. What we’ll likely have to do, as with almost every other big name TV show produced internationally, is wait for a deal to be struck between Amazon and a local distributor — maybe Stan, probably not Netflix, plausibly Foxtel, potentially even Seven or Nine or another one of the free-to-air TV channels.
But we haven’t heard anything — not a peep — about any deal being struck, which is both surprising and concerning given that the show is barely a month away from its November 18 premiere airdate. Usually a deal like this would be shouted from the rooftops, especially if it was snagged by Stan — which has had some Amazon deals in the past. Which makes you think… Is it happening at all?
Amazon would be crazy not to cut a deal.
Or. There are rumblings that The Grand Tour would be the perfect opportunity to launch Prime Video in Australia, and it’s an argument that makes sense. Amazon’s largest presence in Australia already is through its Web Services data centres, so it has the infrastructure in place to serve a bunch of high quality streaming video across the country with very little overhead. All it needs are some content deals to accompany TGT, and for a company with its dollars that’s relatively easy to pull off.
But, Amazon, we need to know. Tell us all where we can watch The Grand Tour. If there’s no plan, we need to know. By the way, just a tip for you — in the age of instant video and almost-instant shipping, even one day late is an eternity. I want to be able to talk about TGT online the second that it airs, like we do with Game of Thrones and we did with Stranger Things. You’ll be shooting yourself in the foot, because a bunch of tech-savvy Aussies will just torrent the show (in crisp Amazon 4K) and you’ll miss out on those dollars and those eyeballs. But, hey, just tell us something.