Amazon founder Jeff Bezos has admitted it was "very, very, very expensive" to bring Jeremy Clarkson and his Top Gear co-stars to his digital television service.

The entrepreneur tied up a deal for Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond to front a Top Gear-style motoring show for Amazon Prime customers reportedly worth NZ$379.3 million.

Clarkson's BBC contract was not renewed after he punched a member of the show's staff during a "fracas", prompting the Top Gear trio to seek new ventures.

In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph's business supplement, Bezos said the three stars were "worth a lot of money and they know it".

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"I think we're in a golden age of television so if you go back in time even just five years, you couldn't get A-list talent to do TV serials, or if you could, it was a rare thing.

"But that's flipped completely."

The new car show, which is as yet untitled, will be broadcast in 2016.

- PAA