Amazon Prime launches silently in Oz to head off pirating of ‘The Grand Tour’
Amazon Prime, the retail giant's streaming service and burgeoning mini-studio, has gone live in Australia with zero fanfare.
EFTM's Trevor Long discovered the launch of the service, or a beta version of it, when he tried to sign up for Prime on Amazon's site and succeeded, to his surprise.
Deadline reported last night that Amazon was going global in December, confirmed by Clarkson on Twitter.
But Amazon seems to have rushed it through in order to make its new show, The Grand Tour, available locally to coincide with its international launch: perhaps mindful of Australia's reputation as a nation of pirates.
The Grand Tour reunites Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. Clarkson was booted from Top Gear by the BBC last year for allegedly punching a producer, with May and Hammond following him out the door.
In moves foreshadowing the global push, Amazon Studios last month promoted its Head of Drama Development Morgan Wandell to a new post of Head of International Productions.
Brad Beale, VP TV Content Acquisition for Prime Video, will oversee series selection for individual countries and worldwide licensing.
Local rights for Amazon shows such as Mozart in the Jungle and Transparent are already owned by Stan. Several titles on Prime are still geoblocked for Australians – with the platform no doubt racing to get its Australian version user-ready in time for an official launch next month.
It's still unclear if Amazon will be opening local premises or operating remotely a la Netflix, though the fact that Amazon's audiobook platform Audible opened up a local HQ this year would seem to bode well.