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bateman-arnett-sirius.jpg

Did Everyone Know that Sirius XM Is Still a Thing?

By Dustin Rowles | Miscellaneous | January 30, 2024 |

By Dustin Rowles | Miscellaneous | January 30, 2024 |


bateman-arnett-sirius.jpg

This week it was announced that the Smartless podcast, featuring hosts Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, and Sean Hayes, signed a $100 million deal with Sirius XM, which may come as a surprise to many who wondered how Sirius XM had $100 million to spend on a podcast.

It’s surprising because it’s been twenty years since Howard Stern signed his first deal with Sirius XM, which he called the future of radio at the time. I don’t think it caught on like Howard Stern expected it to, and now most people think of Sirius XM as something boomers who don’t understand how to sync their iPhones to their cars subscribe to or something we listen to when we rent a car. Who doesn’t want to listen to stations devoted exclusively to the music of Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam, and Pitbull?

Low-key, however, Sirius XM has continued to make deals with many of the major players in the podcast world. In 2021, they acquired the 99% Invisible podcast, and in 2022 they paid Conan O’Brien $150 million — or about five years of Jay Leno’s salary on The Tonight Show — for Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend and his network of podcasts.

Now they have Smartless, a deal with Kevin Hart, and a new James Corden interview show that debuts on Thursday (in case anyone was wondering where James Corden went). All of the podcasts are still available wherever you get podcasts, only Sirius XM collects the ad revenue, which must be considerable if they’re willing to pay $100 million to run ads on Smartless for three years.

In the meantime, there are still 34 million subscribers to Sirius XM, which is more subscribers than either Peacock or Apple TV+ have at more than twice the cost, so they must be doing something right.