SiriusXM has signed a wide-ranging deal with SmartLess Media and its founders, Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, and Sean Hayes.
The three-year pact will see flagship podcast SmartLess shift to SirirusXM. Media outlets including Bloomberg reported the deal is worth $100 million, a step up from what Amazon had been paying to host SmartLess, an interview show that has become one of the most popular weekly podcasts in existence since launching in 2020. HBO also turned it into a docuseries, filming Arnett, Bateman and Hayes as they took part in a live tour for the podcast.
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In addition to the namesake podcast, select other SmartLess Media titles will also change addresses when the deal kicks in this summer. SiriusXM subscribers will gain early access to new episodes of SmartLess as well as Just Jack & Will, Bad Dates and Owned, plus the opportunity to be in the live audience for special tapings. The majority of the SmartLess library will also be available exclusively on SiriusXM. Guests on the show, which is produced by Michael Grant Terry, Bennett Barbakow, and Rob Amjärv, have included President Joe Biden, Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Greta Gerwig, Idris Elba, Pedro Pascal and Selena Gomez.
SiriusXM, known for its roster of talent headed by Howard Stern, redesigned its main app in late-2023, making podcasts an increasing area of focus. The company sees potential in the ad revenue from podcasts becoming an increasingly meaningful supplement to traditional subscription revenue. Under the deal, ad division SiriusXM Media gains exclusive global ad sales rights to the SmartLess podcast and other titles.
SiriusXM’s growing roster of podcasts include Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, Ashley Flowers’ Crime Junkie, Crooked Media’s Pod Save America and breakout originals like Office Ladies and How Did This Get Made?
“Over the past several years, we have doubled down on our commitment to podcasting, and with the addition of SmartLess, we are strengthening our leadership position in podcasting,” said Scott Greenstein, President and Chief Content Officer, SiriusXM. “This groundbreaking new collaboration showcases our power to drive growth for an established podcast while bringing unique value back to our subscribers through exclusive content and events.”
SmartLess joins exclusive SiriusXM podcasts including Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend and Pod Save America as the satellite radio service pushes its bet on podcasting, looking to boost its 34 million-subscriber count. Podcasts are free on SiriusXM, which launched its redesigned app last month.
The SmartLess Media deal was brokered by CAA. SmartLess Media was represented in the transaction by Adam Kaller, Tom Hoberman, and Ryan Pastorek at Hansen Jacobson; Brian Lazarus, Ben Rubinfeld and Sam Fischer at Ziffren Brittenham; and Shelby Weiser and Robert Offer at Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern.
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