Top Gear reigned supreme in the UK and across the world with its popular automotive show, so it made sense why there was a hubbub over where Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May would land after their controversial Spring 2015 departures from the show.
Would it be ITV in the UK? Maybe a network across the pond in the United State? Could a streaming service get involved?
It wound up being Amazon, who reached a deal with the trio, plus former Top Gear show runner Andy Wilman, to produce a new yet similar show for their digital streaming service, Amazon Prime Video. The deal is good for three 12-episode seasons set to kick off in Fall 2016.
Now a couple of months after the announcement, and the move is still the talk of the town. Though Amazon’s competitors have a different view of the big coup for Jeff Bezos’s online monster of a company.
In an interview with Digital Spy, Netflix executive and Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt shed light on the developments, and their own negotiations to bring a Top Gear-like show to their product.
“We have past episodes of Top Gear, so we have a pretty good gauge of what audiences like,” Netflix’s Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt told us.
“Our buying decisions tend to be somewhat data-driven. We have a lot of data to get the deals we want, so there we go. Clearly it wasn’t worth the money to make the deal… I think they sold themselves for way more money [than they’re worth].”
Upon the publication of the interview, Hunt reached back out to Digital Spy for an add-on comment.
“There is an audience for everything and it is not up to us to judge if Amazon has paid too much or not,” Hunt said.
It all raises the giant question: Is Top Gear 2.0 really worth it? The answer might be more about Amazon than Netflix.
Netflix is the top dog in the streaming world, and in many ways stands as the eponym of the entire industry. They need the Top Gear alums much less than Amazon does, as Bezos’s company is looking to make a giant splash and confirm that they are major players in streaming. So Amazon, if they took Top Gear seriously, was always going to bid more, given their demand for a product-defining original series.
The other thing of note is that Netflix is using past Top Gear analytics as a means for determining value, which is armchair quarterbacking at its finest. Old episodes will never draw the viewers that new original content does, especially for a reality show like Top Gear.
Either way, Top Gear 2.0 is coming to Amazon Video next fall and we can’t wait to see how Clarkson, Hammond, May and Wilman top their previous run.