SiriusXM Pandora says it has acquired Conan O’Brien’s digital media company Team Coco and has signed the late-night talk show host and comedian to a five-year deal that will include the programming of a new satellite radio channel.
The announcement was made on Monday hours after the Wall Street Journal published a story on the deal. The financial newspaper valued the transaction at around $150 million.
The deal includes full development and distribution rights to “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend,” the flagship podcast starring O’Brien, his assistant Sona Movsesian and executive producer Matthew Gourley. The podcast has long been distributed by Earwolf, a podcast company that SiriusXM Pandora acquired through its purchase of parent company Stitcher more than two years ago.
O’Brien has a lengthy history in broadcasting, serving as a writer for the critically-acclaimed animated sitcom “The Simpsons” and the sketch comedy program “Saturday Night Live” before being promoted to the position of late-night talk show host at NBC in 1993.
He left NBC in 2010 when the network sought to reinstate long-time “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno to the 11:35 p.m. time slot. He eventually wound up with a deal at Warner Bros. that saw his brand of late-night comedy move to an hour-long show at basic cable channel TBS; it was eventually whittled down to a half-hour in 2019 before O’Brien ended the show for good last year.
While O’Brien has apparently not found any friends with his podcast, he has found a significant audience base: The podcast logged a collective 230 million downloads and streams since it debuted and is said to generate more than 1 million downloads and streams per episode.
“When I started in television, my ultimate goal was to work my way up to radio,” O’Brien said in a statement on Monday. “his new deal with SiriusXM builds on the great relationship that began several years ago with a team that is the standout in their field.”
SiriusXM Pandora says “Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend” will continue to be distributed on popular podcast platforms for the foreseeable future. The deal also includes nearly a dozen podcast produced by Team Coco Productions, including “Why Won’t You Date Me?” with Nicole Byer and “May I Elaborate?” by writer J.B. Smoove.
The deal also includes video distribution rights to clips from the Team Coco podcasts, as well as O’Brien’s late-night talk program that aired on TBS. In the coming months, O’Brien will help SiriusXM Pandora program a full-time satellite and streaming radio channel that is expected to carry the Team Coco brand name, the company said.
“We are thrilled that Conan remains committed to producing his incredibly successful podcast and will now expand his role into executive producing an exclusive Team Coco radio channel for SiriusXM,” Scott Greenstein, the chief content officer of SiriusXM, said on Monday. “Conan has built an amazing brand and organization at Team Coco with a proven track record of finding and launching compelling and addictive podcasts. We look forward to continuing to grow the Team Coco brand.”