December 12, 2016 - 12:12 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Jeremy Clarkson’s new motoring show has become the most illegally downloaded television programme in history, figures suggest, according to The Guardian.
Amazon paid a reported $160m (£130m) for three series of The Grand Tour, which stars former Top Gear presenters Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, after Clarkson was sacked by the BBC in March 2015.
But figures from Muso, data analysts of the piracy market, suggest unprecedented numbers of people are avoiding paying £79 a year to sign up for Amazon’s online streaming service, Amazon Prime, and instead downloading the show illegally.
The data, shared with the Mail on Sunday, December 11 suggests the first episode was downloaded illegally 7.9m times, the second 6.4m times and the third 4.6m times. British viewers made up the largest percentage (13.7%) of the total number of illegal downloads.
The new show from the former Top Gear trio debuted on November 18, and Amazon, which has extended its streaming service to 200 countries, has said only that “millions” of people streamed the first episode. Even the programme’s stars say they are not privy to the official viewing figures.
Muso estimated that Amazon could have lost up to £3.2m in revenue in Britain alone on episode one because of illegal downloads. Chris Elkins, the chief commercial officer at the company, said: “It is the most illegally downloaded programme ever. It is off the scale in terms of volume.”
It has overtaken every big show, including Game Of Thrones, for the totals across different platforms. We monitor thousands of campaigns and this one really stands out.”
A spokesperson for Amazon said: “The Grand Tour has become the biggest show premiere ever on Amazon Prime Video, breaking records around the world.”
Consumer Intelligence Research Partners estimated there were 63 million Amazon Prime members this July, up 19 million in a year, whereas other analysts estimate that just 2 million are in the UK. Amazon had hoped that the show would attract more subscribers to the service.
In March 2015, Clarkson was sacked by the BBC for an “unprovoked physical and verbal attack” on a Top Gear producer, after a string of scandals involving racist and sexist comments made by the presenter.
A remake of Top Gear without Clarkson, Hammond or May, aired on the BBC this year and saw audiences plummet. The show’s new presenter, Chris Evans, announced he was leaving hours after the final episode was broadcast in July. “Gave it my best shot but sometimes that’s not enough,” he said.