Netflix is branching out beyond film and TV with its first audio-only broadcast in the form of a full-time comedy channel that will air exclusively on SiriusXM satellite radio. The channel, to be called “Netflix Is A Joke,” will feature bits from the streaming platform’s series of comedy specials, which include performers like Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Ellen DeGeneres, and Jerry Seinfeld, among dozens of others. The goal, of course, is to expose more people to Netflix’s comedy specials, which it pays top dollar for and has used to court cable viewers away from channels like Comedy Central.
“Netflix Is A Joke Radio on SiriusXM will be an audio extension of our award winning stand-up comedy on Netflix,” said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos in a statement. “We are thrilled to feature some of the greatest and funniest performers in the world with highlights from Netflix shows as well as original programming that further celebrates the art of comedy, and we are excited to do this in partnership with SiriusXM.”
The channel launches on April 15th as Channel 93 on SiriusXM, which you can also access on a number of streaming set-top boxes and other avenues beyond the automobile. Clearly, Netflix is going for a more traditional segment of the comedy audience that, over the last two decades, has shifted its listening from standard radio to the pre-podcast era of satellite radio comedy. The company also plans to produce an original daily show, “featuring celebrity guests and comedians discussing pop culture and hot topics of the day.”
While comedy fans can now access comedians in a variety of venues, from satellite radio shows and directly distributed podcasts to Twitter and YouTube, the coveted comedy special remains the vanguard for top-tier talent in the field. Netflix has become a powerful force in courting comedy’s biggest players into embracing streaming by offering both established and up-and-coming performers access to that stage. Now, the company is going to chop up those specials into audio bits and repromote them, potentially bringing in new fans who might be willing to sign up for Netflix if they find out, through satellite radio, that it’s become a new destination for comedy.