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How Clarkson’s Auto-show "The Grand Tour" is Changing the Face of Television

The opening desert scene of "The Grand Tour" says one thing, big budget extravaganza. Jeremy Clarkson was the former presenter of the hit auto-show “Top Gear" at the British broadcaster the BBC before being sacked. Afterwards, along with his co-presenters James May, Richard Hammond, and producer Andy Wilman, they formed the production company W. Chump and Sons Limited of London. Next move, strike a deal with Amazon for north of 200 million dollars to produce a 12 episode show on their own terms filmed in 4K Ultra HD, bypassing the traditional gatekeepers. 

The new show helped Amazon break records for new sign ups to the their Amazon Prime Video Streaming service. Bezos, expects "The Grand Tour" to be a major factor in the global expansion of the video service. The first episode premiered on Nov. 18 among members in the U.S., U.K., Germany, Japan, Austria.

According to the media entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk, "the television is now the 'radio' and the 'smart phone' is the television." 

It seems to be that ease of access and schedule connivence are the main factors viewers are moving away from their television and towards the internet. Here in Japan, we need look no further than any street, train, or public space, everyone is preoccupied by some kind of screened entertainment.

When I attended film school in the UK in 2013 my grand plan was to graduate and direct television commercials. However, for years now the ground has been constantly changing under my feet. Audience’s have been shifting their precious attention towards the internet and companies are following suit. There has been a major investment of dollars into streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. Also, money is flowing into social platforms like You Tube, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, etc. 

The upside for film directors and digital content creators is that there is an abundance of opportunities existing throughout the digital landscape, and now the barrier to entry is much lower than ever before. The major exodus from traditional media has really just begun and "The Grand Tour" is a big sign of things to come.

Written by David Simpson

David Simpson is a writer and director originally from Canada and has a Master of Arts in Film Directing from the University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh College of Art). Also, he is the host of Cine Japan Summit 2017, the online video podcast sharing knowledge on Japan-based film production.

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