For the exclusive rights to the flagship podcast, which is hosted by Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, and Sean Hayes, as well as several other SmartLess shows, SiriusXM has signed a multiyear deal with SmartLess Media. According to anonymous sources who spoke to Bloomberg, the satellite radio behemoth paid a total of $100 million for the three-year agreement, which includes the popular hosts Howard Stern, Kevin Hart, and Conan O’Brien in its list of celebrities.
This implies that SmartLess Media and the main SmartLess podcast will no longer be supported by Amazon. According to Bloomberg, Amazon paid between $60 and $80 million in 2021 for the exclusive rights to SmartLess and any other shows created by its podcast network. New episodes of Wondery, which is owned by Amazon, and other exclusive content were available to members of Amazon Music and Wondery one week ahead of schedule.
Early, ad-free access to SmartLess and the three other podcasts in the SmartLess Media podcast network—Just Jack & Jill, Bad Dates, and Owned—will also be available to SiriusXM subscribers. The podcasts’ exclusive worldwide ad sales rights are also granted to SiriusXM.
Subsequently, fresh episodes of the podcast will be made available on all podcast players, just way it is currently under agreement with Amazon. However, it looks like fans of SmartLess will no longer be able to listen to the majority of the earlier episodes for free on the player of their choice; SiriusXM will be the only place where listeners can access the whole catalogs of the four SmartLess podcasts.
In its statement, SiriusXM stated that “the majority of the ‘SmartLess’ library will be available exclusively to SiriusXM, making it the only destination for fans to access the podcast’s complete catalog.”
Podcast exclusivity agreements were common for a while, but they have lost popularity in the last few years. However, limiting a podcast to just one platform or service frequently results in a decline in listenership. Since then, businesses have changed their minds and occasionally chosen to forego complete exclusivity in favor of agreements that provide benefits like bonuses or ad-free content for their customers. The second season of the fiction podcast Case 63 and the Spotify Original What Now? featuring Trevor Noah were both released to the general public via Spotify last fall. Despite Conan O’Brien’s podcast company TeamCoco being acquired by SiriusXM for $150 million, podcasts such as Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend are easily accessible.
One more benefit that SiriusXM and SmartLess can provide to their customers without totally limiting the show’s growth is exclusive access to its entire podcast collection. Often at the top of the rankings, the SmartLess podcast is now rated #8 on Apple Podcasts and #27 on Spotify. SmartLess will continue to reach the same audience because new episodes will be made available to everyone, but it will no longer receive plays from those who are watching previous episodes on other players. Additionally, in an effort to attract younger listeners, it might reach out to a different demographic at SiriusXM, particularly through the mobile app it launched last autumn.