Well, this is a little ironic, isn’t it? All that money pumped into new programming by the likes of Amazon Prime and Netflix, and the UK’s most popular streamed show is revealed to be… a 24-year-old sitcom.
Netflix acquired the rights to Friends and began airing it in January, and it’s been a smash hit for the company with fans re-watching their favourite episodes and younger audience members discovering the exploits of Ross, Rachel and co for the first time. The popularity has meant that Amazon’s The Grand Tour has been punted back to the number two slot.
In fact, according to Ofcom’s Media Nations report - which is based on a survey of 2500 users - the number of Friends episodes viewed was double that of The Grand Tour’s in the first quarter of 2018.
However, it is only natural for the figures to be higher just after the episodes were added - the binge-watching will subside, and the difference between the two shows won’t be quite so conspicuous.
It also doesn’t change the fact that TGT has been a huge success for Amazon. The show has reportedly paid for itself , driving a big increase in Prime subscriptions. Of the 13 per cent of those polled by Ofcom who signed up to watch a specific programme, half did so for Clarkson, Hammond and May. In December 2016 29 per cent of all UK Amazon Prime customers watched TGT, and although that proportion declined slightly in December 2017, it remained strong at 22 per cent.
A release date for The Grand Tour’s third series hasn’t yet been given, but it’s widely expected to debut in November or December. UK tabloid The Daily Mail suggested that TGT wasn’t going to be signed for a fourth series, a claim which Jeremy Clarkson dismissed by Tweeting “don’t believe the f—king Mail.”