Amazon said recently that The Grand Tour – the new car show starring the former Top Gear presenters – is the most-watched program ever on its Prime Video streaming service.
That’s all well and good for the web giant, but new data suggests the show has just broken another record that it won’t be so pleased about.
We’re talking illegal downloads, with piracy-tracking company Muso claiming The Grand Tour is also the most illegally downloaded show in history.
According to Muso’s data, shared with the Mail Online, the first Grand Tour has been downloaded more than 7.9 million times via torrent sites. Episode two has clocked 6.4 million downloads to date, while the figure for the third episode, which went out on December 5, is at least 4.6 million.
Chris Elkins, Muso’s chief commercial officer, said its data showed The Grand Tour to be “the most illegally downloaded program ever,” adding, “It’s off the scale in terms of volume.”
Elkins told the Mail the program had “overtaken every big show, including Game Of Thrones, for the totals across different platforms.”
The data indicates that U.K.-based viewers are the most enthusiastic downloaders of The Grand Tour, accounting for 13.7 percent of the total. With so many car fans apparently choosing to avoid paying Prime’s annual fee, Amazon is missing out on a serious chunk of revenue. Prime members in the U.K. pay £79 a year ($99 in the U.S.) for the service, which besides TV shows and movies also offers free next-day delivery on thousands of items, free books for Kindle e-readers, a music streaming service, and free online photo storage.
Amazon is hoping that the much-hyped car show will help pull in more Prime subscribers, and while its plan is likely to have worked to some degree, the piracy figures suggest plenty of people are happy to resist forking out for a subscription, denting the company’s revenue opportunities.
Via Prime, the show is streaming to car fans in more than 200 countries, but Amazon has refused to reveal any viewing figures, saying only that “millions” of people watched the first show last month.
Amazon is spending heavily on the lavish production, with the flashy desert-based opening sequence of the debut production featuring not only three high-paid presenters, but also 150 cars, eight jet planes, and several thousand gearheads. It’s estimated to have cost as much as $3.2 million.
In a bid to boost sign-ups to its Prime service, the Seattle-based company is rumored to have paid a whopping $162 million to secure the services of Clarkson, Hammond, and May, giving the web giant 36 show over three seasons.
Amazon made a move for the British trio after the BBC fired Clarkson from Top Gear last year following a fiery altercation with one of its producers. Amazon boss Jeff Bezos said that signing the three guys turned out to be “very, very, very expensive,” with some reports suggesting Clarkson, for example, is raking in $12.5 million a year for his work on the show.