Tortoise lost over £16 million from 2019 to 2022

63% audio growth means slow news publisher remains confident in future profitability

Tortoise Media has lost £16 million between 2019 and 2022, according to the company’s latest financial results, with a £4.6 million loss in 2022. 

The podcast producer and ‘slow news’ organisation’s accounts for the year ending 31 December 2022 showed that the company’s losses for the year rose by 45%, thanks to a range of increased costs.

Much of these costs, the company said, were part of investment in various areas of its business, including an expansion of its live events strategy. 2022 also saw a 35% rise in staffing costs, up to £6.1 million, with 17 new staff added during the year across production, administration and marketing roles

“Tortoise Media operates in a competitive audio and digital news environment,” the company stated as part of the filing. “In the past couple of years we have seen the increasing proliferation of ‘free news’ which has suppressed consumer appetite to pay for news, which was further compounded by the cost of living crisis.” 

“We are confident that our distinctive approach to audio and digital journalism will continue to grow our audiences in demographics that are habitually not consuming news and current affairs content”.

Tortoise has become known for a broad range of investigative podcasts, including the wildly popular Sweet Bobby, as well as Hoaxed, Londongrad, Into The Dirt and more. 

The company remains confident about the prospects of reaching profitability, it said, and the accounts show a 63% growth in its audio business for 2022, as well as a 21% growth in consumer membership, which it said was partly driven by the introduction of its audio-only Tortoise+ subscription.

While revenue and performance figures for 2023 are not yet known, the company has also invested this year in a complete overhaul of its mobile app to support its audio-first strategy, with the goal of driving more subscriber engagement and acquisition.