Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and Sean Hayes ink three-year $100 MILLION deal with Sirius XM for exclusive rights to ads on SmartLess podcast

SmartLess hosts Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and Sean Hayes have inked a $100 million deal for Sirius XM to acquire some exclusive rights to the podcast for three years, according to Bloomberg.

The deal is part of a wider contract between the streaming company and SmartLess Media, which gives Sirius the rights to distribute and sell advertising for the podcast and other shows, including Bad Dates.

The deal, which is expected to go into effect later this year, also includes some live events and access to rerun old episodes, such as the November 2022 installment with President Joe Biden talking about his daily routine.

Over the past three years, Arnett, Bateman and Hayes have built a solid following while interviewing world leaders, music stars and Hollywood executives, and performing live events.

The trio launched SmartLess as a weekly show in 2020, and it quickly became one of the most popular podcasts in America – ranked fourth in the US by Apple for 2023.

SmartLess hosts Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and Sean Hayes (pictured together) have inked a $100 million deal for Sirius XM to get exclusive rights to the podcast for three years, according to Bloomberg.

SmartLess hosts Will Arnett, Jason Bateman and Sean Hayes (pictured together) have inked a $100 million deal for Sirius XM to get exclusive rights to the podcast for three years, according to Bloomberg.

The deal, which is expected to take effect later this year, also includes some live events and access to rerun old episodes, such as the November 2022 installment with President Joe Biden talking about his daily routine (pictured)

The deal, which is expected to take effect later this year, also includes some live events and access to rerun old episodes, such as the November 2022 installment with President Joe Biden talking about his daily routine (pictured)

Sirius, which ended the third quarter of 2023 with 34 million subscribers, according to Bloomberg, launched a new streaming service last year in a bid to compete with streaming giants like Spotify and Amazon

Sirius, which ended the third quarter of 2023 with 34 million subscribers, according to Bloomberg, launched a new streaming service last year in a bid to compete with streaming giants like Spotify and Amazon

It trailed only Crime Junkie, The Daily by the New York Times and Dateline NBC for the most-listened-to podcast last year.

On Spotify it was eighth – with The Joe Rogan Experience first, Call Her Daddy second, and Crime Junkie third.

Its enormous – and growing – fan base has made SmartLess a popular property for leading distributors. Amazon.com Inc. has shelled out up to $80 million for the rights to stream the show over three years, according to Bloomberg.

The online marketplace giant released new episodes on its Amazon Music and Wondery+ services for a week before they became available elsewhere in a ploy to attract new listeners while retaining the rights to some SmartLess titles.

“Over the past few years, we’ve doubled down on our commitment to podcasting, and with the addition of SmartLess, we’re strengthening our leadership position in podcasting,” SiriusXM president and chief content officer Scott Greenstein said in a statement.

Sirius, which ended the third quarter of 2023 with 34 million subscribers, according to Bloomberg, launched a new streaming service last year in an effort to compete with streaming giants like Spotify and Amazon.

At the same time, however, Spotify and Amazon have cut back on such spending after it failed to pay the dividends they expected.

Company bosses initially jumped at the opportunity to capitalize on the booming podcast business — a $2.3 billion industry that has grown 25 percent in the past year, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

But Spotify’s multi-million dollar deals with the likes of Harry and Meghan, Kim Kardashian and the Obamas have coincided with a huge net loss for the subscription streaming service.

By far the biggest podcast deal Spotify has is with Joe Rogan, who was paid an estimated $200 million as part of an exclusive multi-year deal in 2020.

Spotify lost $565 million in the six months to June on $6.65 billion in revenue, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Spotify shares rose during the pandemic period, along with those of many tech companies as people spent more time streaming and online, but fell amid the launch of high-profile podcasts last year

Spotify shares rose during the pandemic period, along with those of many tech companies as people spent more time streaming and online, but fell amid the launch of high-profile podcasts last year

SmartLess hosts posing with Joe Biden after interviewing him in November 2022

SmartLess hosts posing with Joe Biden after interviewing him in November 2022

The firm is worth about $31 billion today — down from $70 billion at the height of its powers in early 2021.

So Sirius’ $100 million deal with SmartLess is a big gamble. But the show is already off to a flying start this year with celebrity interviews with the likes of Mark Ruffalo.

Talk to the show this month, Ruffalo remembers having a ‘golf ball-sized’ brain tumor in 2001 following a disturbing dream.

The 56-year-old actor described how he learned he ‘had a brain tumor after the success of You Can Count on Me.’

After suffering a nightmare ‘so intense’ it prompted him to get a CAT scan to ‘deal with it immediately’, the father-of-three revealed to the hosts that he went to the doctor with a ‘sense or doom’.