Jeremy Clarkson's The Grand Tour doesn't get a home on SA TV

2016-11-18 19:00

Cape Town – Television piracy fears are growing over Jeremy Clarkson's new car show The Grand Tour that just rolled out its first episode but isn't available in South Africa or anywhere in Africa but already flooding piracy sites.

The fear is that when The Grand Tour – the new car show produced for Amazon with the former Top Gear stars Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond, and James May – does eventually become available in South Africa and across Africa, that most ardent fans and viewers who are interested in it, will have already found a way to watch it anyway.

M-Net that did manage to acquire other Amazon produced shows like Mozart in the Jungle and Transparent told Channel24 on Thursday that it hasn't acquired The Grand Tour, meaning the show won't be available on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform.

With no word from subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services Netflix or ShowMax about the show, and Amazon being coy about which further countries it will be launching its Amazon Video Prime VOD service in, it's highly likely that the mostly male viewership courted by the show will watch The Grand Tour long before Amazon Video Prime launches in South Africa – if it does.

Amazon Video Prime is set to launch in a further 200 countries in December and switched on in Australia last night, but it's unclear whether South Africa is part of the list that will get the service. Netflix is currently available in 190 countries.

Part of the first season of the show – releasing one episode per week on Amazon Video Prime since yesterday – is an episode filmed earlier this year in Johannesburg, South Africa.

This South African episode that will be become available next week Friday and following the debut episode set in California's desert, will be the second episode of the new series.

While BBC Worldwide's failed reset Top Gear seen earlier this year on BBC Brit (DStv 120) with Chris Evans was panned by critics and viewers alike and saw the host quit as ratings plummeted, The Grand Tour that Amazon spent millions on, looks like an instant hit while critics are back raving about Jezza and car company.

‘Top Gear on steroids’

Forbes describes The Grand Tour as "really Top Gear on steroids" while The Telegraph raved that "the production values are as mind-blowing as billed" as describing the show as not "yet five minutes in and already Top Gear had been thoroughly trumped".

"The new series will certainly go some way towards obliterating memories of Top Gear's terrible Chris Evans fronted relaunch," said The Telegraph, noting that "Petrolheads can rejoice. The BBC may wonder how Matt LeBlanc and whoever joins him next year can possibly compete". 

The Guardian says "Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond prove they can still make a spectacle – and keep the petrolheads happy".

USA Today notes that The Grand Tour is "ambitious".

With good reviews and a passionate fanbase for The Grand Tour, if Amazon Video Prime does launch in South Africa sometime in December, it might be too late for the Amazon Studios produced show to actually cash in on viewers.

If The Grand Tour does become available to South African viewers, it will be after the show's international launch date and episode roll-out schedule, while a growing number of South African and African consumers with broadband access over the past three years have turned to other ways of finding TV downloads if a show isn't broadcast or made available legally in the territory.

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