UPDATE: Amazon has, at the 11th hour, opened up the taps on its Amazon Prime streaming service, unlocking The Grand Tour – and other shows – for Australian viewers. That's right: there's no VPN needed, no visits to questionable torrent sites required to get your fill of the world's most highly anticipated car show. Enjoy.
JEREMY Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May's new Amazon Prime show, The Grand Tour looks like it is set to launch in Australia sooner than originally expected.
The trio announced earlier this week that the video wouldn't land in Australia until next month, alongside 199 other countries, mentioning no details on specific dates or on what platform, but all signs point to an early local launch of Amazon's new $250 million car show.
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While not officially announced, Wheels has discovered that for the first time Australians are able to sign up to Amazon's Prime service through the company's UK and US website and access video content. Once you sign up to the service's 30-day trial, it will then allow you to play Amazon's Original TV series such as Goliath, but with some exceptions.
Those exceptions are shows that Amazon has already licensed the rights to in Australia, such as Transparent, which is already available in Australia through rival online video streaming service Stan.
Adding weight to the speculation is Amazon's refusal to answer any questions relating to if and when The Grand Tour will air in Australia as part of its global roll-out. Despite numerous requests to provide more details relevant to the show's potential Australian airing, an Amazon Prime spokesman would only respond: "We have nothing to announce at this time."
The Grand Tour is set to launch tomorrow in the US, Britain, Germany and Japan and without any local rights signed in Australia, it can be assumed that the show will also be available to Australians who sign up to a trial for the Amazon Prime service.
US streaming giant Netflix used a similar tactic when it launched in Australia, with its original shows such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black previously airing on pay TV service Foxtel, and then later on Amazon Prime rival Netflix once the exclusive rights expired.
Netflix announced in January that it was launching its service worldwide with its original content, and judging by the systems Amazon is testing, it appears it will be looking to launch something very similar with The Grand Tour as its flagship program.
New episodes of The Grand Tour are set to appear weekly on Amazon Prime starting from tomorrow. We will have to wait until then to see if Australians can access it; however if its other shows are anything to go by, it's pointing to a yes. Or it's also entirely possible Amazon is just doing a soft launch of its international distribution ahead of The Grand Tour's official launch in Australia in December. Only time will tell.
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