Netflix has apparently got its sights set on the new season of Top Gear, which would see it compete with Amazon’s upcoming Clarkson-helmed motoring show on a global scale.
The BBC hasn’t even finished filming the new Top Gear yet and rumour has it that Netflix has already got its cheque book on the table.
A Guardian article reports that talks between the BBC and Netflix are in ‘the early stages’ and that interest in the new series is driven by not only success of previous Top Gear episodes on Netflix, but also down to the fact that chief streaming rival Amazon is hard at work on its new show, starring erstwhile hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May.
Related: How can I watch Netflix on my TV? Watch Jeremy Clarkson burn the BBC in this Amazon Fire TV advertWhile the BBC and Netflix have yet to comment on such a deal, an unnamed source has confirmed to Recombu that representatives from Netflix were amongst the buyers in attendance at a recent BBC Showcase event in Liverpool, where hundreds of TV buyers decide what BBC programmes to purchase and air on various networks for the coming year. Netflix may have been in attendance to purchase other BBC shows, but will at least have been interested in the the new Top Gear.
The new series of Top Gear is due to hit TV screens in early May; episodes will then land on BBC iPlayer for viewers in the UK for at least 30 days after broadcast.
Earlier this week, culture secretary John Whittingdale announced that free access to catch-up content on iPlayer would soon cease to be a thing. Currently you can legally watch content on iPlayer without needing a TV Licence, provided you only watch shows on a catch-up basis, so no live streaming in other words. As part of a new licence fee settlement with the government, Whittingdale wants the so-called catch-up loophole closed.
It’s currently unclear when this change will take place, other than ‘soon’; whether the free catch-up curtain will come crashing down before the new Top Gear revs up is another thing.
Netflix subscriptions start at £5.99/month for a basic subscription, while Amazon Prime Video costs £5.99/month or £79/year, if you want to take it with Amazon Prime. The TV Licence currently costs £145.50/year but that price, which has been frozen since 2010, will almost certainly increase by the end of the year.