SmartLess podcast apparently worth $100 million to SiriusXM, which apparently has $100 million

Will Arnett, Jason Bateman (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images), and Sean Hayes (Manny Carabel/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival), who have apparently never posed for an actual photo together
Will Arnett, Jason Bateman (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images), and Sean Hayes (Manny Carabel/Getty Images for Tribeca Festival), who have apparently never posed for an actual photo together
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In a move that may make you feel the sudden urge to look at a calendar to confirm that it is still 2024 and not somewhere around 2014 or so, someone just paid $100 million for a podcast. And not just someone, but SiriusXM, the satellite radio people who recently got in trouble with New York’s attorney general for allegedly making it “intentionally difficult for its customers to cancel their subscriptions.” Apparently they have $100 million laying around, and they used it to get “certain exclusive rights” to Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, and Sean Hayes’ SmartLess—a popular show, by all accounts, but one that is also now apparently worth a staggering amount of money.

Just to be clear here: We’re not saying SmartLess doesn’t deserve this money, but this is a medium that is very segmented and with very specific creators making shows for specific audiences, so there’s a good chance you could still be one of the biggest podcast fans in the history of podcasts without ever listening to one second of SmartLess. Not to mention that anyone in any place could make a podcast with a minimal amount of investment on their part, unlike movies or even music, so it just seems completely bizarre to be throwing this kind of money at any podcast.

This comes from Bloomberg (well, not the incredulity, that’s all A.V. Club), which says the $100 million is part of a three-year deal and will see SiriusXM getting the rights to “distribute and sell ads for SmartLess and other programs like Jameela Jamil’s Bad Dates” (not to sound like fake podcast fans, but is that a conscious Raiders Of The Lost Ark reference?), as well as coverage for “some live events and access to previously aired episodes.” SmartLess Media will apparently retain control of the show itself, so this is a distribution/marketing thing.

Bloomberg notes that SmartLess’ previous distribution deal with Amazon and Wondery+ was worth somewhere between $60 million and $80 million for three years, so the show—which just started in 2010—was already very valuable and will hopefully keep being valuable for at least the next three years. (It’s not entirely clear to anyone how podcasts make money, let alone $100 million, but hopefully someone at SiriusXM or SmartLess has more of a handle on it.)

Meanwhile, Joe Rogan’s deal at Spotify is supposedly worth $200 million, so as over-the-top as this all may seem for SmartLess, there are more bizarre deals happening in the podcast world than this one. At least Will Arnett, Sean Hayes, and Jason Bateman aren’t… you know, doing the shit Joe Rogan does. Or maybe they are? Like we said, it’s easy to be a big podcast fan who listens to podcasts all day and still be completely unaware of anything that has ever happened on SmartLess.