Netflix has confirmed that it was in the race to sign Jeremy Clarkson last year, but was beaten to the chequered flag by a knockout bid from Amazon Prime Instant Video.
Chief executive Reed Hastings admitted that Netflix wanted to sign Clarkson and his co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May after they left the BBC.
He suggested, however, that the company was unwilling to match Amazon’s reported £160 million ($210 million) offer for the trio, who are now making “The Grand Tour.”
Speaking to The Guardian, Hastings said Netflix was surprised at the value of Amazon’s bid for the motoring show, which will debut later this year.
He said: “We bid on Jeremy Clarkson’s show and they bid more. By the time they won it, we were like: ‘Wow, that’s a lot of money.’ Maybe it will work for them, it might well. It could be a great show. You can’t tell until you’ve seen it.”
Business Insider has asked Amazon for comment.
Hastings was philosophical in defeat, arguing that Netflix will emerge victorious for other brands. He cited the battle with Channel 4 for Charlie Brooker’s dystopian drama “Black Mirror.”
Hastings said he is an Amazon Prime subscriber, but sees the company in the same way as every other rival.
“I use Amazon all the time — I am a Prime user, when they have a good show I’ll watch that — but my sense is that they are just one more competitor amongst many,” he said.
Reflecting on Netflix’s disappointing earnings last month, which resulted in the company’s share price diving more than 15%, Hastings was not panicked.
“Everyone realises that internet video is the future. I don’t think [the markets] are worried, but there was disappointment about us having less growth than we expected,” he said.
“That’s definitely true, but it’s just one quarter. The key in success is thinking long term and not worrying over one quarter.”