The American publishing house behind the 155-year old magazine The Atlantic is set to launch a digital business news service which threatens the global position of the Financial Times and The Economist.
Quartz, which will launch in September, is primarily aimed at tablet users and will be free of charge. It will target the international business class that lives life on the move. "If you look at the business people operating in this new economy, they are people who are in a sense post-national," said Justin B Smith, president of the Atlantic Media Company. "They spend more time outside their own countries, they are on aeroplanes all the time, they're borderless and living mobile existences."
The editor-in-chief of Quartz is Kevin Delaney, former managing editor of the digital operation at The Wall Street Journal. He said Quartz's "form-agnostic approach" geared to tablets and mobiles would allow greater flexibility than traditional media products. "We are not focused on print deadlines or forms of content that are demanded by a print publication or a news wire service," he said. "We are not beholden to the standard article format that traditional media organisations have to, by necessity, devote most of their energy to."
The name Quartz was apparently chosen because it's a disruptive mineral linked to tectonic activity. That, claims AMC, is a metaphor for both their new service and the kind of momentous economic shifts that Mr Delaney's team aims to identify and cover. "Our goal is to provide global business professionals with the most essential information at any given moment in the most efficient way."
The venture has a staff of 25 headquartered in New York's fashionable SoHo, with representatives in London and Asia. Other news organisations will watch Quartz as a potential model for digital news provision.
AMC is aiming to build audience scale in the anticipation that advertisers will follow. Mr Smith said he was worried about the model's vulnerability to falls in advertising rates, because "rates are not falling for premium niche audiences".
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