Amazon paid about $250 million for its new show “The Grand Tour,”
a 12-part series from Jeremy Clarkson and the “Top Gear” team,
according to Netflix’s content boss, Ted Sarandos.
“The Grand Tour” is a huge moment for Amazon in its bid to rival
Netflix as the top producer of high-quality streaming content.
Netflix even mentioned the show in its most recent earnings
report, saying the company assumed it would make Amazon “as
global as YouTube and Netflix.” Amazon is poised to expand its
video service to more than 200 countries, most likely starting in
according to The Wall Street Journal.
If “The Grand Tour” is Amazon’s calling card in its worldwide
ambitions, it didn’t come cheap. Conventional wisdom had said
Amazon paid about $160 million for it. But Sarandos claimed
Amazon paid much more.
“That’s an under-reported number,”
Sarandos told The Telegraph. “It was about a quarter of a
billion dollars. We’ll be able to figure out later what it was
that made the show the show. It’ll be interesting with ‘Grand
Tour’ to see how much of that is the players, who in many cases
are big personalities, but what elements of ‘Top Gear’ will
Amazon is doubling its spend on video content in the second half
of this year, compared with last year, the company’s CFO, Brian
Olsavsky, said previously. Amazon most recently disclosed its
investment amount on video content back in 2014, when it spent
Sarandos said Netflix pursued the show but implied his company
didn’t think it was worth what Amazon paid.
“We made a play for that show, definitely,” Sarandos said. “But
we’ve had every season of ‘Top Gear’ on Netflix in most
territories in the world, so we had a better sense than most of
what the audience was for ‘Top Gear’ on our platform. We knew
what it was worth.”
Netflix is no stranger to shelling out money, however. It plans
to spend $6 billion on content in 2017.
Additional reporting by Eugene Kim.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his
personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.