How Quartz went from high-flier to layoffs
Steven Perlberg of Digiday writes about financial news site Quartz, which has gone from cutting edge innovations to layoffs in the past two years.
Perlberg writes, “Publishing has gone through about a dozen life cycles since Quartz emerged as a darling of digital media eight years ago, spinning out genuinely innovative features: a sleek website and app, a trendsetting newsletter before newsletters were cool, fewer but better bespoke ads and a data team that works inside the newsroom. In 2016, at four years old, Quartz announced it had achieved an operating profit.
“That would be the first and only year. Today Quartz is the latest victim of a digital media industry in crisis. Last month, the company laid off nearly half its staff in a major restructuring meant to retool the outlet around subscriptions in addition to advertising. The company eliminated 80 roles, shuttered physical offices in London, San Francisco, Washington D.C., and Hong Kong and reduced executive salaries by 25% to 50%. As of the first quarter of 2020, net advertising sales dropped by 54.1% year-over-year. In 2019, Quartz reported a $18.4 million loss on $26.9 million in revenue.
“Built for the native ads era, Quartz’s current situation marks the end of a distinct chapter in media. There was a time when ‘digital native’ businesses like BuzzFeed, Vice and Quartz represented a new vanguard in contrast to languishing print dinosaurs like The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, or Washington Post. In recent years, more legacy outlets have caught up, in large part thanks to pure copying or poaching the digital talent for themselves.”
Read more here.