Can Season 2 of the Grand Tour Destroy Another Viewership Record?
When the Grand Tour premiered on Amazon Video back on November 18, 2016, it did so with a lot of expectations and a whole lot of weight on its shoulders… depending on which source you find, somewhere between $160 to $250 Million worth of weight! That’s how much it has been estimated that Amazon spent on the Grand Tour. You can imagine the pressure felt by Clarkson, Hammond, May, and Wilman must have been immense!
Critics the world over were waiting to see if Jeff Bezos and Amazon had gambled foolishly on our beloved show, or wisely. I think we can all agree that for W. Chump & Sons freshman debut, they did a great job!
Not only did the Grand Tour have an amazing opening, as it broke Amazon’s previous viewership record held by the show, “The Man in the High Castle,” by an estimated 300 percent (3x)! But, the show was also able to increase Amazon membership rates at near holiday shopping levels!
In the UK alone, it is estimated that 2.3 million people watched the Grand Tour on Amazon Video, compared to 5.8 million traditional TV viewers watching our trio on old Top Gear before they left BBC2. If you’re doing the math, that’s a 40 percent viewership retention from paid video-on-demand, compared to traditional TV.
This 40 percent figure is actually an amazingly high number! According to a recent Nielson TV study on viewership trends, the current (2017) relationship between paid video-on-demand viewing and traditional TV viewership is typically only 11.5 percent!
Consider for a moment being a member of the Amazon marketing department back in June/July of 2015. Your job is to try to estimate the potential viewership gains Amazon video would receive by adding the Grand Tour to your video-on-demand line-up. Your biggest hit to date is the show, “The Man in the High Castle,” which you might reasonably hope will have similar levels of viewership for the Grand Tour. You additionally have statistical data from Nielsen (the most trusted name in TV viewership data here in the U.S.) that shows you should only expect a 10 to 12 percent crossover rate from traditional TV to paid video-on-demand. This means that the best you can reasonably expect from the Grand Tour, is to have matched the viewership ratings of your biggest show to date, and additionally pull only 11.5 percent of Top Gear TV viewers over to Amazon Video.
With these figures in hand, you present them to your bosses who will pay out as much as a quarter billion dollars to get the show! You can bet that there were more than a few heads on the line in the marketing department at Amazon Video!
Well, I hope those marketing folks got a bonus, because the Grand Tour smashed all expectations! Not only did they best the show, “The Man in the High Castle,” by a factor of three (3x); even more impressively, they beat the Nielson estimated cross-over rate in the UK by nearly a factor of four (4x)! And who knows how well they performed world-wide!
Now that the pressure-cooker is off the shoulders of W. Chump & Sons, do you think that the sophomore premiere of the Grand Tour on December 8, 2017, will be able to smash even more records? Or was their record smashing freshman premiere back in 2016 a one-time thing?
Keep driving sober my friends!
My thanks to Larry for all his help with this article.