The hosts of BBC hit series “Top Gear” will return next year with a new car show, but this time it will be hosted on video streaming platform Amazon Prime Instant Video. The deal was made a few weeks ago, people familiar with the matter said.
Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May will all return to the programme, set to air in 2016 with three series already penned. Amazon outbid regular TV broadcasters and Netflix (opens in new tab) in one of the fiercest bidding wars for a TV show in recent times.
The BBC sacked Jeremy Clarkson a few months ago for punching a producer, after a heated argument at the hotel near where Top Gear was filmed. It isn’t the first time Clarkson has been in trouble however, with several incidents forcing the BBC and Clarkson to apologise to countries or organisations.
Amazon does not seem at all troubled by Clarkson’s potential to cause trouble. The 350 million viewers for Top Gear worldwide seem to be more valuable than the inevitable apologies Amazon will have to issue to countries, if Clarkson intends to take the show on the road.
Top Gear on Prime Instant Video will be a different show, less scripted and focusing more on cars. We don’t know if segments where celebrities appear on the show will be added into the new format. The three Top Gear hosts created a new production studio, W. Chump & Sons, along with executive producer Andy Wilman, to produce the show.
It is another big exclusive for the streaming world and shows the amount of money both Amazon and Netflix are prepared to spend to win over customers. Instead of buying licensed content from other broadcasters, both want their own TV shows and movies.
Amazon recently announced it has plans to release a new movie every month on Prime Instant Video (opens in new tab), surpassing Netflix’s current rate for original content. Netflix, on the other hand, will continue to work with Marvel on new comic series, alongside its Emmy award-winning series’ Orange is the New Black and House of Cards.
Prime Instant Video is part of Amazon Prime, the £79 per year free shipping service with additional services, like music streaming, video streaming, cloud storage, hourly shipping in London and other benefits. Instant Video is available on its own for £5.99 per month.
Having Top Gear under its belt should draw a few million viewers to Prime Instant Video. It might even propel the service higher than Netflix, which currently holds prime position in the streaming market with over 40 per cent of prime time viewership (opens in new tab).
Top Gear will be available in Austria, Germany, the US and the UK when it launches on Prime Instant Video. Amazon also has the option of licensing the content in countries where it isn’t available.
Update: Amazon has confirmed the news, Top Gear will be coming to Prime Instant Video in 2016. (opens in new tab)