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Amazon scoops up exclusive rights to celebrity podcast 'SmartLess'

June 29 (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc said on Tuesday it had signed an exclusive rights deal with “SmartLess”, a podcast hosted by Hollywood actors Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Sean Hayes in which they talk to other celebrity guests.

New episodes of “SmartLess” will be released a week early and exclusively on Amazon’s podcast platform Wondery and Amazon Music, the company said. The episodes will also be available ad-free on Wondery+, the channel’s subscription membership.

The e-commerce titan is a relatively new entrant to the booming podcast space, an area dominated by Spotify Technology which recently signed podcasting deals with major names including Michelle Obama, Joe Rogan and Kim Kardashian.

“SmartLess” was launched late last June and has about 50 episodes with guests including U.S Vice President Kamala Harris, actors George Clooney, Adam Sandler, Jennifer Aniston and Bryan Cranston, as well as musicians Paul McCartney and Billie Eilish.

Amazon declined to comment on the terms of the deal but Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday that the total value was between $60 million and $80 million, citing people familiar with the matter. (bloom.bg/3dr52SE)

The deal also gives Amazon the right to partner with SmartLess LLC on any additional podcasts it produces. Wondery will retain exclusive ad-sales rights through the deal, Amazon said.

The e-commerce giant in December acquired Wondery, which houses popular podcasts like “Dirty John”, “Dr. Death”, and “Business Wars”, looking to expand the content on its Amazon Music app beyond just music.

Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath

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