‘A start-up again’: New Quartz owner Zach Seward’s plan for longevity includes revenue innovation and reader support

Digiday 20 Nov 2020 05:01
November 20, 2020 by Kayleigh Barber

In less than a decade, Quartz was born, bought, sold, restructured and most recently, fell to its presumed deathbed. But its co-creator and new owner Zach Seward sees nothing but upside possibility in retooling the legacy digital publishing brand with a vision to harmonize subscriptions and ad sales.

The quick history of Quartz is that the business news publisher was launched in 2012 by co-founders Seward and Kevin Delaney under Atlantic Media with the intention of covering the global economy. Then in 2018, it had new owners, a Japanese-based company Uzabase, that bought the publication for $86 million. At that point, Seward took over as CEO of Quartz Media and Delaney departed from his role as editor-in-chief.

The new owners saw subscriptions as a gateway to profitability —something Quartz had not experienced since 2016 — but last year turned out to be a tough year, with Uzabase’s 2019 financial report showing that Quartz’s total revenue dropped from $34.8 million in 2018 to 26.9 million in 2019. Then going through a pandemic and global recession, it took another major hit, losing nearly half its staff to layoffs and more than half of its advertising revenue.

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SewardUzabaseZach SewardKevin Delaney
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