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Netflix expands its horizons with a SiriusXM comedy channel … and a magazine?

Netflix has decided to broaden its horizons, dipping its toes into two more forms of media, launching a full-time radio channel on SiriusXM, as well as planning a free print publication (yes, you read that right) to promote its video production efforts.

The new radio channel, which will be called Netflix Is A Joke, makes the most logical sense the two endeavors on its face, given that the streaming giant has longstanding partnerships with a number of big-name standup comedians. In fact, much of the content for the channel will be recycled from filmed specials, including sections of performances by Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle, Ellen DeGeneres, and Jerry Seinfeld, among numerous other big names.

SiriusXM is the perfect radio-style platform for the service, given that its subscribers tend to veer a bit older in age than Netflix’s average audiences, and that the platform boasts massive subscriber numbers across the United States. In effect, Netflix is essentially partnering to create content-based ads for its online comedy specials.

What might baffle those who keep tabs on Netflix’s business practices is the second endeavor. The company has decided to create Wide, a 100-plus page print publication that will feature interviews, essays, and features surrounding the people and actors who work on its TV shows and films.

The oddest part? The publication won’t be for sale. Instead, it will be distributed around Hollywood in June, when the TV academy nominates productions for Emmy awards.

Essentially, the entire publication can be considered a PR move, designed to bring attention to the vast array of Netflix-produced shows that might not be on typical awards voters’ radars. After all, the company released around 700 TV shows, movies, documentaries, comedy specials, and animations in the past year alone. Wide will be helmed by Krista Smith, an editor from popular magazine Vanity Fair.

Netflix claims to have invested significantly in “some of the most talented and sought after writers and photographers, thinkers and creatives, to make the inaugural issue of Wide,” according to emails sent to Bloomberg.

Whether or not the print publication will help Netflix earn any more nominations or awards remains to be seen, but, as they say, there’s no such thing as bad press — even if it may seem antiquated in the streaming age. It should be interesting, at least, for readers to discover shows they might not otherwise have heard about among Netflix’s most award-ready films and TV shows.

Wide will be released in June, while the new SiriusXM channel Netflix is a Joke is slated to premiere April 15, 2019.

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Parker Hall
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Parker Hall is a writer and musician from Portland, OR. He is a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Oberlin…
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