Special episodes of the popular motoring-cum-light-entertainment TV show Top Gear are to be made available to watch through Facebook in Australia and New Zealand, as well as internationally in the US, Europe and Canada. Three feature-length episodes from the show will be available: the 2007 Polar Special, the US road trip from the show's ninth season, and the Vietnam trip from the twelfth season.
The Polar Special will be available on the show's Facebook page today, while the US road trip episode will be available from the 28th August. The Vietnam special will be available a week later on the 4th September. Users will have to use Facebook Credits to purchase episodes. The pricing structure is convoluted; ten payment options are available with a range of prices and currencies. Watchers can pay via mobile phone in Australian dollars ($3.00 AUD), by Paypal or credit card in British pence (£0.91 GBP), DaoPay ($2.78 AUD), BPay or bank transfer ($3.50 AUD), MoneyBookers or POLi in US dollars ($1.81 USD), MOLPoints ($1.76 USD) or Ukash ($1.54 AUD). Facebook Credits are supposedly worth $0.10 USD each, and each show costs 15 credits. Once rented, the episodes will be available to watch for 48 hours before expiring.
A BBC representative told GoodGearGuide that the three specials are the only programs to be announced for the launch month. There is currently no end date for the availability of the three Top Gear special episodes.
The BBC's Top Gear fan page on Facebook has over 8.8 million fans worldwide, while the companion page for mysterious on-screen personality The Stig has a further 5 million. Top Gear managing director Adam Waddell at the BBC said that selling episodes on Facebook is a win for fans: "We’re always looking at ways of adding value for the core fans of the show so it’s entirely appropriate that we should be one of the first TV shows to make its premium content available via Facebook.”