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Amazon is gearing up for the small screen return of the internationally renowned Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May with The Grand Tour - and yes, that "gearing" pun was intended. The company is wisely using this particular release to announce and usher in the massive expansion of Amazon Prime, which will follow in Netflix's global footsteps by spreading its streaming programming across the planet. No more having to cross real international borders to watch The Man in the High Castle's fake international borders.
Here's how the rollout schedule is going to work for Amazon's international expansion and its newest big-budget property. The Grand Tour will hit Amazon Prime customers in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Austria, Japan and five other territories on its release date, and it will later move on to the rest of the countries in December, when Amazon debuts its streaming and download video service in more than 200 countries. That's massive, and it will definitely help the company's wide variety of original series, both scripted and unscripted, find swaths of new audiences. Here's Jeremy Clarkson soothing some of those viewers.
All those new eyeballs, in turn, will probably influence a broadening in Amazon's programming library with a misison to bring in more shows and movies from many other countries. Amazon took a widened approach to acquiring content over the past few years, and so there are, say, more British projects and co-productions, and things will likely only get more varied as time goes on. Due to the acclaim of Top Gear in many countries beyond its home nation, this will be a great litmus test to see how well the streaming goes once the service goes global. It's bound to get more eyes in other countries than some of Amazon's more niche fare.
Once Amazon is done with its initial expansion, it will actually be in more countries than Netflix, which is currently running in 190 nations, so even though it's behind in the updates, Amazon still comes out ahead in a way. There were hints that such a monumental announcement was on the way, with recent behind-the-scenes changes indicating worldwide growth, and this is about as big as it gets.
The Grand Tour will hit Amazon (almost) everywhere with its very first episode on Friday, November 18, so you don't have long to wait at all for your initial taste of what this trio has been up to in 2016. Head to the next page to watch Jeremy Clarkson & Co. make the Amazon announcement themselves in a cheeky video. And of course, check out our fall TV schedule and midseason premiere schedule to see what else you can look forward to watching in the future.