Few details were included in a SiriusXM blog post announcing the venture, but the company said it was the first time Netflix content will be heard on any audio platform. The channel will be exclusively available to SiriusXM subscribers. No launch date has been specified, with the announcement saying only that the channel is “coming soon.”
Comedy has been one entertainment arena where Netflix’s approach has been especially disruptive. Jamie Mosada, longtime owner of LA’s Laugh Factory, told Fortune recently that Netflix is “making money off the backs of” comedians. Seeking to optimize its marketing machine, the streaming giant has gravitated to rising comedians with sizable social media followings such as Ali Wong or Tiffany Haddish. Their millions of followers bring people to the Netflix platform, though Mosada said comedians’ cut is not commensurate with the free marketing they provide.
For decades, cable networks HBO, Showtime and Comedy Central dominated the TV comedy game, with an HBO special in particular serving as the gold standard, especially in a post-Johnny Carson world. Then, just as it has done in the scripted TV arena, Netflix offered some talent rich sums (Rock reportedly made $40 million for two specials) and creative control. Unlike linear networks, it has no limit on the amount of stand-up it can pack onto its platform, so the deals have come at a steady clip.
SiriusXM is no stranger to the premium comedy landscape, having signed Howard Stern to a landmark deal to bring him to the satellite service in 2006. Pricing and tiering for the Netflix channel has not been specified. Subscribers who want access to Stern’s SiriusXM channel have to pay a monthly premium.