You may know Amazon is paying Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May to come up with a rival show for the BBC’s Top Gear, but do you know how much the deal is worth?
US$250 million or £160 million in British pounds. That’s according to ‘people familiar with the situation’ who spoke to the Financial Times about the deal, which is worth three series comprised 12 episodes each.
Each series will be released annually, starting from 2016, with ex-Top Gear executive producer Andy Wilman producing the show. Amazon is said to have been picked because of its complete creative freedom – something Clarkson and company criticised the ‘meddling’ BBC for heavily.
The new show could feature a very similar format to the BBC show because Amazon’s online nature circumnavigates a clause that prevented the presenters from presenting a car show on a UK channel for two years.
Mr Clarkson said of the Amazon announcement: “I feel like I’ve climbed out of a biplane and into a spaceship.”
Mr Hammond added: “Amazon? Oh yes. I have already been there. I got bitten by a bullet ant.” Mr May added: “We have become part of the new age of smart TV. Ironic, isn’t it?”
Amazon’s Prime and Prime Instant Video services are available online, with the former costing £79 a year – £6.58 a month. The subscription includes access to online photo storage, music and video streaming and free faster delivery of parcels.
Netflix was expected to land the deal after Sky said it effectively wouldn’t touch Clarkson with a barge pole and going to ITV would mean a two-year wait to get the ball rolling, but it seems Amazon’s exceedingly deep pockets paid off.
The BBC was forced to avoid resigning Clarkson’s contract after he punched producer Oisin Tymon in a ‘fracas’. Subsequently Hammond and May never saw their contracts renewed.
Since then BBC Radio 2 presenter Chris Evans was appointed as the lead Top Gear presenter. The BBC ran a public audition for the show in the hope of finding new talent to join him, the winners of which have yet to be announced.
Enders Anaylsis estimates four per cent of British homes have Amazon Prime, compared with a total of 16 per cent for Netflix. Amazon has kept viewing figures close to its chest but claimed its total Amazon Prime membership is measured in ‘tens of millions’.
A quarter of a billion dollars may seem like a monumentally expensive deal but Top Gear is one of the best known shows on earth so if that is unable to get people to front up for Prime nothing is. Just look at the influence House of Cards had on Netflix.
Still unconvinced? Ignoring costs and whatnot, the deal would pay for itself if two million subscribers pay the £79 – a mere two per cent of the 350 million viewers worldwide. Not only that, Top Gear generated an estimated £150 million in commercial revenues through global sales.