Amazon’s $250 million bet on Jeremy Clarkson’s new show is already starting to pay off (AMZN)

Former Amazon Prime Video

Amazon is rumored to have paid about $250 million for “The Grand Tour,” a new series featuring Jeremy Clarkson and his former team that produced BBC’s “Top Gear.”

And based on early results, that investment is already starting to pay off.

According to Amazon, The Grand Tour’s debut episode last Friday was the biggest premiere ever on Amazon Prime Video. The company declined to share specific numbers, only saying it attracted “millions” of viewers, but said it broke the previous record held by “The Man in The High Castle.”

It’s also become the top rated TV show or movie on IMDb, withan overall rating of 9.6 and over 10,000 votes, while getting a 4.9 out of 5 rating on Amazon and a 97% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

But perhaps what Amazon is most happy about is The Grand Tour’s ability to draw in new Prime members. Amazon said it saw the second most number of new Prime member sign-ups on the day of the show’s debut — after Prime Day, its big annual sales holiday that draws tens of millions of shoppers to its site.

Amazon doesn’t disclose the actual number of new sign-ups from either Prime Day or last Friday, so it’s hard to tell how big an impact it had on the total number of Prime members. Still, it’s an important development because it proves Amazon’s investment in Prime Video is having a direct impact on the growth of its Prime members, who tend to spend more on Amazon than non-Prime members.

Amazon has previously said that it’s doubling its spending on video content in the second half of this year, compared with last year. The last time Amazon disclosed its investment amount on video content was back in 2014, when it said it spent $1.3 billion.

Prime is Amazon’s paid membership program that costs $99/year or $10.99/month. Members get access to free two-day shipping, a bunch of streaming video and music content, and online storage space.

Prime members purchased $123 billion worth of goods from Amazon last year, accounting for nearly 60% of the company’s total GMV (gross merchandise value), according to Deutsche Bank. They also spend about 4.6-times more money on Amazon than non-Prime members, Morgan Stanley said.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

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