Netflix will screen the BBC’s all-new Top Gear show internationally, the streaming giant confirmed Tuesday.
With Netflix enjoying a global customer base of around 75 million, the agreement means the BBC-produced car show will be perfectly placed to take on Amazon’s upcoming offering featuring the three guys that presented the original.
The revamped Top Gear, fronted by British TV and radio personality Chris Evans and American actor Matt LeBlanc, among others, launches May 8, while the rival show hosted by Clarkson, Hammond, and May is expected to start streaming globally on Amazon Prime in the fall. However, it’s likely Netflix will begin showing Top Gear later in the year, potentially around the same time Amazon’s show lands.
News of Netflix’s Top Gear deal was confirmed by its chief content officer, Ted Sarandos, during an interview with BuzzFeed at an event in Paris.
The development follows months of speculation although won’t come as a major surprise to some observers as the streaming company already has a deal to show old episodes of Top Gear.
It seems the finer details of the agreement are yet to be ironed out, as Sarandos couldn’t say if gearheads in all Netflix markets will be able to watch the show. “Worldwide I don’t know, as there are pockets of output deals that block all of those things, so we can only control worldwide on things that we can control outright, or things that we take on very early in their life. But multi-territory for sure,” he said.
This time last year, shortly after the BBC fired Clarkson from Top Gear for punching a producer, there were plenty of rumors suggesting Netflix was on the verge of signing up the show’s three presenters. But Amazon ended up nabbing the trio in a three-year, 36-show deal thought to be worth $250 million.
Asked by BuzzFeed if Netflix had indeed tried to sign up Clarkson, Hammond, and May, CEO Reed Hastings said, “They bid themselves out to many people and to the highest price, like most creators do. It’s a natural process and Amazon paid the highest price.” Amazon boss Jeff Bezos admitted last year that the deal to secure the former BBC team had been “very, very, very expensive.”