Liberated Solutions, the parent company of Libsyn, has released its year-end 2019 revenue numbers after a bookkeeping delay and the numbers show the podcast hosting company experienced double-digit growth overall last year. Total revenue increased 10% to $24.2 million, which it said was largely due to an increase in its hosting revenue while ad dollars declined. About 60% of the company’s revenue is tied to podcasting, with the remainder coming from Pair Networks, its website hosting business.
Expenses at the company jumped 14% during 2019, in large part due to a months-long battle with activist shareholder Camac Partners. Under the terms of the settlement announced last October, Libysn agreed to bring in new independent board members and cancel 150,000 stock equity awards that it had given to CEO Chris Spencer and CFO John Busshaus last spring. It also said it would pay up to $600,000 to Carmac to cover the out-of-pocket expenses it incurred during the fight.
"Marking our 15-year anniversary, 2019 was a year of strong growth for Liberated Syndication as we built on our industry leading position in paid podcasting hosting, with a large, growing base of valuable monthly subscribers," said Spencer in a statement. "Throughout the year, Libsyn continued to add value to podcasters as the market grew, and Pair continued to maintain its best-in-class hosting and domain offerings.”
Libsyn said the total number of podcasts on its platform grew 20% last year to more than 69,000 in December 2019. And its unique podcast downloads totaled 6.2 billion. It credits integration into Radio.com and Deezer and improvements to Libsyn's connection with Spotify for some of that growth. And with $16.6 million in the bank as of December 31, the company also said that the coronavirus hasn’t had a significant impact on its overall direction.
“While the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted everyone around the globe, we have been very fortunate to see a continuation of 2019's growth with an increase in new podcast customer sign-ups in the first quarter, with April being our second-best month for sign-ups on record,” said Spencer. “Our customer churn has remained within the historical range and we are seeing an increase in episode creation by existing customers.” The company also announced it plans to begin beta-testing “Libsyn 5.0” in the second half of the year. It says the new platform will provide a “clean and intuitive” user interface, begin to support multiple foreign languages, and allow for improved features.
Because Liberated Solutions continues to make some bookkeeping fixes on Friday it told shareholders that release of the company’s first quarter revenue numbers will also be delayed.