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.
Speaking with The Guardian, CEO Reed Hastings acknowledged that Netflix wanted to sign Clarkson and his cohosts 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."
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'll 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 would emerge victorious for other brands. He cited the battle with Channel 4 for Charlie Brooker's dystopian drama "Black Mirror."
Hastings said he was an Amazon Prime subscriber but saw 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 told The Guardian.
Reflecting on Netflix's disappointing earnings last month, which were followed by a fall in the company' share price of more than 15%, Hastings was not panicked.
"Everyone realises that internet video is the future," he said. "I don't think [the markets] are worried, but there was disappointment about us having less growth than we expected.