The rumors are swirling around the internet that those without Amazon Prime will be able to see The Grans Tour.
In an interesting twist, the rumor mill has The Grand Tour ending up on regular television in the near future. This should not be a real surprise to anyone. The only way the show continues is if it continues to have a broad reach.
The announcement that the show starring the former Top Gear presenters was going to Amazon Prime Video was a shock to many. It was the highest profile original for the streaming service. It also might have been the most unlikely streaming service to sign with.
As the build up to the first show in November continues, the costs of production are becoming apparent. Amazon is one of the most profitable companies in the world. They did not get that way throwing money away.
A way to recoup the costs for the series is simple, syndication. The truth about Top Gears success is that it is syndicated around the world. It makes the BBC a small fortune. That is why they continue to work so hard rebuilding Top Gear.
A gauge for success for The Grand Tour will be very difficult. There are not ratings for streaming shows. The best available way for a measurement is going to be social media activity. The reason Amazon invested in The Grand Tour is to drive Prime membership.
If there is not a noticeable jump in memberships, Amazon then has a valuable property to put into syndication. It can keep airing the originals, and as with normal syndication, release episodes to another outlet for airing on traditional television.
The list of outlets that would be interested in The Grand Tour would be long. The History Channel would seem to be the obvious choice. They aired the American version of Top Gear and have a block of automotive programming. The international flavor of The Grand Tour fits with the scheme that History has developed.
My first instinct was to say Discovery networks, but it does not seem to fit. Discovery is very intent on having original programming as its base. They seem to like having control over production and syndication would eliminate and control they would want.
Discovery does own the Velocity Channel. That would seem to be a natural fit if it had a wider distribution. Velocity attempted to air the Top Gear competitor Fifth Gear. That would allow for a trial to see how syndication of The Grand Tour would be received. Then Discovery could move it to the main network if demand dictated.
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The one thing that we have to keep in mind is we never expected Amazon to begin with. Could a network surprise be in play? Summer programming for networks has changed in the last few years. Short series now dominate the summer schedules. The short season of The Grand Tour would fit the network needs.
I have learned that in television, where there is smoke there is fire. I was shocked to see The Grand Tour ended up on Amazon Prime. The idea that a syndication deal is in the works makes the decision more understandable.
I would not be shocked to see an announcement regarding television syndication not long after the first episode of The Grand Tour airs. It would capitalize on the excitement and help Amazon recover the exorbitant costs of the show. That would be a win for everyone and help keep Jeremy, Richard, and James in our living rooms longer.