Critical Role, the D&D role-playing collective with millions of fans, is teaming with SiriusXM to handle worldwide ad sales and distribution of its popular podcast.
Under the multiyear deal, SXM Media, the combined advertising revenue organization of SiriusXM, has exclusive global ad-sales rights to the Critical Role podcast. Additionally, the agreement calls for SiriusXM’s Stitcher podcast subsidiary to distribute the show across all podcast platforms.
Critical Role was formed by a group of friends who met as voiceover actors in L.A. and began playing D&D together, originally just for their own private amusement. CR’s founders and castmates — Laura Bailey, Taliesin Jaffe, Ashley Johnson, Liam O’Brien, Marisha Ray, Sam Riegel, Travis Willingham and game master Matthew Mercer — started livestreaming their campaigns in 2015 and drew a large following of fans (aka “Critters”).
The company has since expanded the Critical Role franchise into podcasting, books, graphic novels, tabletop games, merchandise — and an adult animated TV series, “The Legend of Vox Machina,” on Amazon’s Prime Video. Season 1 of “Vox Machina” recently bowed on Prime Video, and a second season is coming. Critical Role also is exploring the development of a video-game adaptation.
“All stories start with people talking to each other, so it is natural that audio has become an increasingly important platform for us,” said Ben Van Der Fluit, VP of business development at Critical Role. “We believe audio storytelling is an exciting medium for expanding what Critical Role brings to Critters. This deal allows us to nurture and grow our audience with a terrific strategic partner in SiriusXM, while also exploring future shows and formats as a fully independent company.”
SiriusXM’s podcast deal with Critical Role follows other notable partnerships formed by the company, including an agreement with Tom Segura and Christine P’s YMH Studios to distribute and develop content; a global ad agreement with podcast company Audiochuck and its top-rated program “Crime Junkie”; and a multiplatform agreement with Crooked Media for ad representation and distribution through at least the 2024 election season.
“Critical Role fills an incredibly unique void in the podcast landscape and brands will be excited to align with this highly sought-after, dynamic content,” said Kelli Hurley, SiriusXM’s VP and global head of revenue partnerships.
Pictured above (l. to r.): Sam Riegel, Liam O’Brien, Marisha Ray, Laura Bailey, Matthew Mercer, Taliesin Jaffe, Ashley Johnson, Travis Willingham