Amazon Prime Video is finally going global to give Netflix some serious competition

Since its global expansion in January, Netflix has sat alone as the sole video streaming site to be available in (almost) every country in the world. That situation looks like it will change very soon, after Amazon teased a major international expansion of its own, rival service.

Amazon Prime Video is presently only available in five countries — the U.S., U.K., Germany, Austria and Japan, with India “coming soon” — but Amazon dropped a heavy hint that it will expand to cover 200 markets worldwide from December.

There’s a slight catch here, though.

Right now only one show — The Grand Tour, the remake of popular British motor show Top Gear — is confirmed for global audiences. But it seems likely that Amazon will either launch other shows at the same time, or at least bring them to market internationally very quickly to capitalize on the popularity of Top Gear, which was said to have an audience of 350 million worldwide at its peak.

That seems to the plan at this point. A Wall Street Journal report citing Amazon sources said the video service is “on the verge of a massive global rollout.”

The Grand Tour itself, for which Amazon reportedly paid $250 million, became available in current Prime Video markets yesterday, and will go global from December, according to a tweet from Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and a YouTube video from the stars of the show.

Already, it looks like Amazon is quietly making its shows available in some additional countries this week. Media reported that users in Australia can now access the service on the web — though mobile apps are not available locally yet — and it could be that other countries have also been let in without fanfare. If not now, then in the near future, certainly.

Netflix is rivaled by a number of niche players, such as Mubi (independent films) and iFlix (Southeast Asia), but Amazon will bring some much needed competition to global markets.

Amazon’s music service might be the next to expand. Last week it launched outside of the U.S. for the first time, arriving in the U.K., and — with Amazon battling hard in India, taking Prime into China and eyeing the potential of Southeast Asia — its media services could help give it the edge on local e-commerce rivals.