Five Observations About Atlantic Media's New Digital Magazine, Quartz
Atlantic Media, publisher of The Atlantic, a 155-year-old magazine known for its longform political and cultural reporting, is today launching a digital-only business magazine called Quartz. The new title is the latest step in the once-fusty company's increasing emphasis on digital, and in part an acknowledgement that paper’s death as a magazine publishing medium is imminent.
These days, The Atlantic’s reporters are also prolific bloggers, with James Fallows, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Alexis Madrigal, and Robert Wright adding their voices to the magazine’s daily reporting at TheAtlantic.com, supplementing the publication’s other digital-only ventures, Atlantic Wire and Atlantic Cities. Quartz itself is a well-resourced operation, with former Wall Street Journal managing editor Kevin Delaney as Editor-in-Chief and Gideon Lichfield, formerly The Economist’s Deputy Digital Editor and Media Editor, as Global News Editor. It has a team of 20 journalists.
Digital revenues now make up 65 percent of all advertising revenue at Atlantic Media, according to David Carr’s report on Quartz in the New York Times today. The company had a rough decade at the start of the century, losing $8 million to $10 million a year for 10 years, owner David Bradley told Carr, but, with a new digital-first strategy, the company has increased its revenue from $20 million to $40 million in the last four years. It has been profitable three years running.
“It’s become very, very clear to me that digital trumps print, and that pure digital, without any legacy costs, massively trumps print,” Bradley told Carr.
No one has truly cracked the model for magazine publishing in this difficult digital era, but The Atlantic is making a lot of smart moves with Quartz. Here’s what I like best about it.