Over 16 million cars and light trucks will be sold in the U.S. this year, and millions more in the U.K. and Germany. Tapping into that market, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) paid an extraordinary sum to launch an auto TV show, “The Grand Tour,” for its Prime members. Based on early results, the investment appears to have paid off. However, in keeping with tradition, Amazon did not offer exact numbers.
The company reported:
The debut episode of the highly anticipated new Amazon Original Series, The Grand Tour, has become the biggest show premiere ever on Amazon Prime Video, with millions of Prime members streaming the first episode in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Austria and Japan over the opening weekend. Viewership has even exceeded that of the previous number one show, The Man in The High Castle. Additionally, the day The Grand Tour debuted, total new Prime membership sign-ups exceeded all previous days with the exception of Amazon’s renowned Prime Day.
The Grand Tour is also receiving unprecedented customer and critical acclaim with the show being the top rated TV show or movie on IMDb, the world’s most popular source of movie and TV data, with an overall rating of 9.6 and over 10,000 votes. The show is rated 4.9 out of 5 stars by more than 15,000 customers on Amazon, and currently has a score of 97% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Business Insider reports that Amazon paid $250 million for the program. The hosts of the show previously appeared in “Top Gear,” which aired on the BBC.
The Grand Tour represents two risks for Amazon. One is that it ups the original programming price wars, which reflect investments by Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX), movie studios, and cable channels. When it released earnings, Netflix management said it would spend $6 billion on programs in the next year. It is not certain that these investments are better than content licensed from other sources.
The other risk is that the market is saturated. The media is crowded with car magazines, car shows, car ads, and car races. Gaining attention is hard, to say the least.