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Acast signs Tortoise Media to host, distribute and monetise its Slow News podcast

PRESS RELEASE · London England, UK ·

Acast has signed Tortoise Media, to its network of publisher partners which includes the BBC, the Guardian, Financial Times, Economist, gal-dem and Hearst.

The partnership with Acast will enable the fast growing audio-first media platform to distribute its journalism podcasts, including The Slow Newscast and Sensemaker, to every listening platform, and monetise its content for non-members through dynamically-inserted ads and sponsorship through the Acast Marketplace.

Tortoise Media launched in 2019 with a slow news approach to journalism with a membership-subscription model, focusing on the in-depth stories that really matter – in the UK and around the world.

Its slate of podcasts launched with the weekly Slow Newscast, hosted by former Guardian and HuffPost journalist Basia Cummings. The podcast takes a considered approach to news podcasting and is Tortoise’s flagship podcast. More recently, at the start of 2021, Tortoise launched Sensemaker, a daily news podcast that examines one story every day to help listeners make sense of the world. Episodes typically run for five minutes and distil topics such as the race for Covid-19 vaccines into digestible podcasts that can be listened to in the time it takes to brew a coffee. Tortoise Studios is headed up by Ceri Thomas, former Editor of BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme and Panorama, and Basia Cummings, former Editor at The Guardian and HuffPost. Its four part series ‘My Mother’s Murder’ was recently number one in Apple’s UK News category and The Slow Newscast was one of Spotify’s favourite new shows of 2020.

“As an audio first publisher Acast was the logical podcasting partner of choice for Tortoise’s growing podcast journalism,” said Ceri Thomas, Editor and Partner at Tortoise Media and Co-Head, Tortoise Studios. “We’ve seen a significant rise in listeners of our podcasts in recent months. I look forward to building on our success, and unlocking our audio strategy as a new revenue stream through Acast’s bespoke podcast monetisation model.”

Acast hosts more than 20,000 podcasts worldwide and monetises global smash hits including Sh*gged Married Annoyed, Katherine Ryan Telling Everybody Everything, and Doctor’s Kitchen with Dr Rupy, as well as podcasts from the most significant publishers including Today In Focus, Stories of Our Times and FT News Briefing. Acast pioneered true dynamic ad insertion technology in podcasting — which allows for the delivery of timely, contextualized podcast ads specific to listeners across any device or platform.

“Tortoise Media is one of the most exciting news organisations in the world right now, and its approach to the newsroom is exceptional, especially at a time where it’s critical to take stock and consider the facts of a unravelling story.” said Sam Shetabi, director of UK content at Acast. “Adding Tortoise to our growing number of publisher partners strengthens our growing journalistic podcast offering, and is indicative of the flexible and powerful podcasting solution Acast offers publishers for hosting and monetisation.

Tortoise Media’s podcasts are distributed via Acast and are available on every podcast listening platform, including Apple, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music and Spotify.

For advertisers looking to work with Tortoise Media podcasts, they will be able to exclusively via Acast Marketplace.

About Acast

Acast is the power source of podcasting, a global platform that offers everything creators and advertisers need to find and reach millions of listeners. Acast provides a creator-first, open ecosystem for podcasts that is profitable, fair and sustainable for any creator — from bedroom podcasters to celebrity shows or emerging influencers. Acast connects podcasters and advertisers through the world’s biggest podcast marketplace, offering reach to millions of immersed podcast listeners with host-front advertising campaigns, audio ads and branded content. Founded in 2014 by Johan Billgren, Acast now hosts 20,000 podcasts — reaching more than 300 million listeners every month and working with thousands of brands.

About Tortoise Media

Tortoise is the news start-up founded by James Harding, former Director of News at the BBC, Katie Vanneck-Smith of the Wall Street Journal, and Matthew Barzun, President Obama’s Ambassador to the UK. Central to our open journalism mission is our award-winning ThinkIn discussion format based on newsroom conferences, where all our members and guests have a seat at the table. Tortoise is a slow media news platform that is committed to looking at what is driving the news and is built on an inclusive and open membership model. More than 80,000 people have signed up to become a Tortoise member since it launched in 2019.

Tortoise Studios, part of Tortoise Media, combines the journalistic expertise of the team with years of audio experience to create the very best audio storytelling for Tortoise Media, other broadcasters and corporate partners.


This is a press release which we link to from our daily newsletter about podcasting and on-demand. This is reprinted verbatim; we may rewrite headlines and descriptions.

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