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Amazon’s ‘Grand Tour’ Beset by Piracy — But It’s Not the Most-Pirated TV Show Ever

Amazon paid big bucks for “The Grand Tour,” and now pirates are feasting on the globe-spanning automotive show from the three former hosts of BBC’s “Top Gear.”

But it’s not the most-pirated show “in history,” which is what a report in the U.K.’s Daily Mail on Saturday claimed.

The article cited data from Muso, London-based research firm and antipiracy solutions vendor, which claimed that the premiere episode (released Nov. 18) has been downloaded by pirates 7.9 million times while the second has been poached 6.4 million times.

That volume of piracy, according to the Daily Mail article, puts “The Grand Tour” head and shoulders above any other TV show, including HBO’s “Game of Thrones.” Amazon launched the show, which reunites “Top Gear” team Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May, for Prime Video members in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Austria and Germany and has said it will stream the show in 200 countries later this month.

However, it turns out that’s not what the Muso data showed.

A rep for Muso, in an email to Variety, clarified that the firm found “The Grand Tour” had the highest volume of piracy views for a British TV show in history and the highest level of piracy for a TV series in its first season through the first three episodes. Muso analyzed the most popular pirated content on Netflix and free-to-air broadcast in the U.K. to get a basis for comparison, but it didn’t provide piracy metrics for other content it examined.

Data from another research firm, Germany-based Tecxipio, shows that “Grand Tour” was not even close to being the most-pirated show over the last three weeks. From Nov. 18 to Dec. 11, episodes of “The Grand Tour” were shared 1.92 million times by internet users on peer-to-peer piracy networks, per Tecxipio. By comparison, AMC’s “The Walking Dead” over the same time period saw 9.87 million total illegal downloads.

Also note that a single episode of “Game of Thrones” in 2015 — season five, episode five — had higher levels of piracy within 24 hours than “Grand Tour” did in its first three weeks, by Tecxipio’s measurements. Downloads of that “Game of Thrones” episode reached 3.22 million one day after hitting piracy sites, according to Tecxipio (formerly known as Excipio)

Meanwhile, the reason Muso’s estimates for “Grand Tour” totals are much higher than Tecxipio’s is that Muso conducts “demand analysis” of views on piracy streaming sites as well as peer-to-peer downloads, whereas Tecxipio analyzes only files shared on P2P networks. But the relative popularity of a title should be consistent regardless of whether it’s streamed or downloaded from a piracy service.

For what it’s worth, last month Amazon said “Grand Tour” broke Prime Video records after the first episode’s Nov. 18 premiere. The ecommerce giant didn’t provide specific numbers except to say “millions” of users streamed the episode over the opening weekend, beating Prime Video’s previous record-holder, “The Man in the High Castle.”

Amazon’s planned launch of “Grand Tour” in some 200 countries has led to speculation that Prime Video could be poised to challenge Netflix on a global scale. But Amazon has not confirmed that it is launching a full streaming service worldwide at this point.

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