Quartz had reason to break out the party hats Monday as the six-year-old venture was sold upstream by Atlantic Media to a similar Japanese business site in a deal worth at least $75 million and up to $110 million if it hits performance targets.
Quartz had grown in its short life from 22 to 225 staffers and zero revenue to $30 million a year.
Fundamentally, it has flourished because it was — and still is — a good idea, well-executed. The shoals are littered with the remains of magazine launches that flunked one or both of those tests.
From the start, Quartz was conceived as digital-only and designed for smartphones and tablets. It cast its lot with the then-newfangled sponsored content/native advertising model (as did Vox), thus avoiding the annoying clutter of banners, drop-downs and auto-plays that pollute so much of the digital user experience.
Executive editor Zach Seward spoke with me Monday afternoon about how the publication grew and prospered, beginning with that good idea.
“The one-sentence summary is that we are a guide to the new global economy,” Seward said. “So we are focused on explanation” — not so much investigations or event-driven news breaks.
“Also, we have a bias against the status quo,” he said. “Not everything is interesting — even some whole industries.”
Content is organized around themes, “obsessions” in Quartz parlance, with topics like media, tech and an assortment of others getting attention, but not in a traditional beats and lines-of-business way.
An early obsession, maybe the first, Seward
Read more here: https://www.poynter.org/news/secret-quartzs-success-there-are-several