Amazon paid about $250 million dollars for its new show “The Grand Tour,” a 12-part series from Jeremy Clarkson and the “Top Gear” team, according to Netflix 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 over 200 countries, likely starting in December, 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 that Amazon paid around $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 will 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 people miss?”
Amazon is doubling its spend on video content in the second half of this year, compared to last year, CFO Brian Olsavsky said previously. Amazon last disclosed its investment amount on video content back in 2014, when it spent a total of $1.3 billion.
Sarandos said that Netflix pursued the show, but implied Netflix 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 hispersonal investment company Bezos Expeditions.