Netflix Expands to Radio With SiriusXM Comedy Channel

Hannah Gadsby Nanette - Still 1 -Publicity-H 2018
Courtesy of Netflix

The Netflix Is a Joke Radio channel is expected to launch early next year on SiriusXM.

Netflix is bringing its comedy brand to a new platform. 

The streaming giant has announced a partnership with SiriusXM that will see it create and launch a comedy-focused satellite radio channel, a move that signals the company's interest in extending its programming foothold beyond its online video roots. 

Sirius teased the new channel in a blog post Wednesday morning, explaining that it would include "material from the Netflix stand-up catalog, which features the biggest names in comedy," as well as broadcast comedy talk shows and original programming. 

The channel, dubbed Netflix Is a Joke Radio, is expected to launch in January 2019. It marks the first time that Netflix has explored audio-only programming. 

Netflix Is a Joke Radio comes as the streamer has focused on building its comedy brand. It has become the largest buyer of stand-up specials, and this year alone has released some 50 specials for its subscribers. For many comedians, a Netflix special can bring a new level of recognition. Hannah Gadsby's Nanette special is a recent breakout, and specials from Ali Wong and John Mulaney have also made waves. On July 11, Netflix upped its investment in comedy even further when it announced plans for 47 half-hour specials taped around the world. 

The radio channel will also serve as a new promotional opportunity for Netflix as it faces increased competition for subscribers from streaming services like Amazon and Hulu and new offerings from traditional media companies like Disney. On Monday, Netflix reported that it added 1 million fewer subscribers than expected, a sign that such competition could finally be catching up to the longtime streaming video leader. 

Sirius, meanwhile, has been adding new channels with recognizable talent and brands in a bid to keep subscribers engaged. The company has struck deals with Barstool Sports and, more recently, Kevin Hart for new channels. The Hart channel, produced through his Laugh Out Loud network, offers a weekly show hosted by Hart, interviews, stand-up and other comedy programming. 

The Wall Street Journal first reported on the agreement between Netflix and Sirius.