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Case Studies | Tortoise

Supporting Tortoise throughout their pivot to audio

As one of the fastest growing news platforms in the UK, Tortoise is powered end to end by Pugpig Bolt and Pugpig Site and launched just three months from kickoff.

Tortoise Media mobile app

About Tortoise

Tortoise is on a mission to create journalism that lasts and a different type of newsroom for slower, wiser news. They’re interested in the best stories – or the best angles on them, and cutting out the noise we’ve become so accustomed to. Rather than chasing after breaking news, Tortoise is taking time to see the bigger picture and investigating what’s unseen.

The main objectives

  • Launch a digital platform worthy of the number one journalism project funded on Kickstarter in just three months
  • Pioneer a new sustainable media business model by focusing on membership as a paid-for product
  • Great event integration to get attendees to their ThinkIns – this supports the editorial focus on open-newsroom, community journalism
  • Use a range of brand new story formats, infographics, photo essays, videos and podcasts in an intuitive website and app to make their high-quality journalism shine

What we did

A mobile-first product designed for digital natives

At Tortoise, their award-winning journalism is more than just the written word. The app showcases a range of content from podcasts and audio to beautiful photography, impactful infographics and live streamed events. 

Support throughout their pivot to audio

When Tortoise members said they prefer listening over reading, we made audio journalism and podcasts a standout functionality of the app. Audio has become their single biggest subscriber driver and has also attracted younger audiences.  

Focus on subscriptions and onboarding

Thanks to the app’s integration with audience intelligence software platform Piano, everything from member onboarding to subscriptions and audience segmentation is fully taken care of and used to inform marketing efforts.

We’re Tortoise’s trusted tech advisors

We became an integral part of the Tortoise team, acting as their technology advisors as well as designing, developing, maintaining and supporting all their tech platforms to help bring their business to life.

The results

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3 month project turnaround

Both the Tortoise app and website were launched just three months from the initial kickoff to an extremely vocal and happy group of founder members. We’re super proud of this tight turnaround given the scope of work. 

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Audio listeners tripled

Tortoise’s decision to put more focus on audio content certainly paid off – their audio listeners tripled and they attracted a new type of audience. The average age of podcast listeners is 10 years younger than the average Tortoise member.  

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Apple’s app of the day

The Tortoise app has been selected as Apple’s app of the day three times, with UI design, usability and overall quality being key factors. They also secured a Google Digital News Initiative grant for the ThinkIn Network.

“Pugpig act as our CTO and trusted tech advisor.”

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Pugpig are an excellent partner – they are a true extension to our team. They act as our CTO and trusted advisor on all things tech and beyond.

Katie Vanneck-Smith
Co-Founder and Publisher, Tortoise

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