Condé Nast expands audio division with acquisition of In The Dark

Staff members of The New Yorker join podcast team to develop new narrative series

Global media powerhouse Condé Nast has made a new acquisition into the audio space with two-time Peabody award-winning investigative podcast In The Dark, which will be integrated into The New Yorker. 

The company acquired the copyright, production, and distribution rights of the show from American Public Media, including In The Dark’s entire back-catalogue which includes two seasons since its launch in 2016.

Reporters and editors from The New Yorker, a magazine published under Condé Nast, will work on writing and producing the third season of the podcast along with show’s co-creators Madeleine Baran and Samara Freemark. The team will also work on expanding the company’s portfolio with a new narrative podcast series. 

“We’re incredibly excited to be joining an organisation renowned for both its investigative reporting and its compelling narrative storytelling,” said Baran. “It’s the perfect fit for us, and we can’t wait to get started.”

An article by The New Yorker on the announcement stated that this acquisition marks the magazine’s “most ambitious foray into long-form audio journalism” which will expand its current audio portfolio including The New Yorker Radio Hour and a slate of podcasts that cover Fiction, The Writer’s Voice, The Political Scene, The New Yorker Comment, and more. 

The New Yorker editor David Remnick said that he was delighted to partner with In The Dark’s co-creators having first been introduced to the show by the magazine’s cultural critic Sarah Larson, who named the series her podcast of the year in 2018.

“Anyone who’s listened to an episode of In the Dark knows that these reporters and producers are doing some of the best investigative journalism in audio,” said Condé Nast Entertainment’s head of global audio Chris Bannon. “We are thrilled that this all-star team is joining Condé Nast Entertainment — a partnership that will establish us as a leader in narrative podcasting.” 

Condé Nast powers a number of podcasts with 16 active shows, as of 2022, across seven of its brands. This includes The Run-Through with Vogue, Vanity Fair’s Dynasty, Condé Nast Traveler’s Women Who Travel, Bon Appetit’s Dinner SOS, and more. In The Dark will be the publisher’s first exploration of investigative reporting in podcasts.

Other publications that are making waves in the audio journalism space include ‘slow-news’ brand Tortoise Media which recently announced that its listeners have grown 90% in just a year. The company shifted towards prioritising audio-first content when it expanded its audio team after receiving a £10 million investment in January 2022. 

The publication has since said that the audio team became profitable in a 12-months period and has made podcasting its primary medium for sharing investigative journalism, with its most popular series being its weekly show The Slow Newscast and hit multi-part investigation podcast Sweet Bobby, which amassed 11 million downloads since its launch in 2021.

“I think the gamble was if you took audio as your platform, and narrative as your approach, was that a marriage that could deliver not just once in a while with those big ticket things like Sweet Bobby, but could it deliver every week, could it actually deliver every day?” said Tortosie Media editor and partner Ceri Thomas at an event held at the publication’s office on 2 March. “And I think what we’ve learned over the last year is basically that thing does work…I think to an extent we found our groove. Something that felt like a gamble 12 months ago now feels a bit more stable.”