Wed, 10/07/2020 – 18:40
After revealing that their most profitable writer was an unpaid teenager who penned most of their quizzes, Buzzfeed cut 15% of its workforce last year.
Now, WSJ is reporting that Uzabase, the Japanese company that bought Quartz after the Atlantic cut it loose, then essentially gutted the writing staff while imposing a paywall ($14.99 a month, or $99.99 per year) that killed off ad revenue, has decided to dump the site at a discount.
The move suggests that the company has finally had it after just 2 years, which isn’t surprising since revenues have fallen to almost nothing. In the first half of 2020, Quartz took in just $5 million, down from $11.6 million during the prior year. In 2019, revenues fell 22% to $27 million. Back in 2018, it took in $35 million in revenue, yet recorded an Ebitda loss of $10.7 million.
Earlier this year, Quartz eliminated some 80 jobs.
For this year, Uzabase reported that it expected Quartz to bring in just $1.9 million in subscription revenue. In August, it had just 21,000 subscribers at the end of June.
Unfortunately for Uzabase, it has a lot of competition in the field of trying to offload flailing digital media brands in the middle of a recession. The other day, we reported that Verizon was desperately searching for a buyer for the liberal Huffington Post, which is best known for deciding to run all coverage of then-candidate Trump in the “Entertainment” section after his primary debut, only to quietly backtrack once he started leading in the polls.
And there are a bunch of magazine brands that publishers are trying to offload as well.
One source close to Verizon told the NY Post that the outlook for the Huffngton Post isn’t very bright, reasoning that if Verizon couldn’t sell enough ads to make it profitable, then nobody can. We strongly suspect the situation is similar with Quartz.
There was a time when Quartz nurtured some of tech journalism’s top-tier talent (Christopher Mims, who has long since departed for WSJ, comes to mind). But anybody with talent has long since been poached by WSJ, Reuters or Bloomberg.
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Author: Tyler Durden