Netflix chief claims Top Gear trio ‘not worth it’

Amazon Top GearNetflix’s chief product officer Neil Hunt has claimed the reported £160 million (US$244.3 million) price tag Amazon paid to secure Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May was overpriced.

Netflix was one of the companies vying to secure the trio after they left the BBC after Clarkson was accused of punching a Top Gear producer.

However, Hunt told entertainment site Digital Spy that Netflix’s audience data, which dictates to a large degree what it acquires, suggested the fee Amazon Prime Instant Video was overpriced.

“We have past episodes of Top Gear, so we have a pretty good gauge of what audiences like,” he said.
“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. They sold themselves for way more money [than they’re worth].”

The new show, which is currently untitled, will have a budget of around £4.4 million per episode, which is a huge amount for an unscripted series comprising 36 episodes and three seasons.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently confirmed the series was “very, very, very expensive”, adding the presenters are ‘worth a lot and they know it”.

Netflix and Amazon are locked in a battle for supremacy in the subscription on-demand space, with Netflix currently the clear market leader.

Amazon has, however, made ground through a series of high-profile acquisitions and original series such as the Emmy-winning transgender drama Transparent.

“We’re much bigger, so we have bigger cheques to write,” Hunt told Digital Spy. “There might be other people ranting, but we’re still in a good place.”

Following publication of the original story, Netflix went to the unusual step of sending a separate statement, which read: “There is an audience for everything and it is not up to us to judge if Amazon has paid too much or not.”

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