Quartz, a digital-only business publication from The Atlantic Media Company, went live Monday afternoon. It joins the conglomerate’s growing list of digital assets, a portfolio that includes TheAtlantic.com, TheAtlanticCities.com, TheAtlanticWire.com and NationalJournal.com, among others.
The Atlantic has poured more resources into Quartz‘s launch than it has for its last two digital creations, The Atlantic Wire and The Atlantic Cities. Instead of an initial staff of two, as was the case with Cities, Quartz has a launch staff of about 20.
The publication has already made some big-name hires, including former Wall Street Journal online managing editor Kevin Delaney, now Quartz‘s editor-in-chief; Gideon Lichfield, previously deputy digital editor and media editor at The Economist, who has been named global news editor; and senior editor Zach Seward, former social media editor at The Wall Street Journal. (A fourth, former VP of sales and marketing for Gawker Media Chris Batty, has already resigned his role as publisher.)
Quartz has billed itself as “mobile-first” — it has an appy interface that is designed to deliver content for consumption largely via tablets, smartphones and the web, competing against more established entities like The Economist, Bloomberg Businessweek and The Financial Times. “The reason is very simple: the readership on those devices is enormous and growing, especially among our target audience,” Delaney said in an earlier interview with Mashable. “We will have a desktop website, but we’re very deliberately focused on how to best deliver global business news to global business leaders on mobile and tablet devices.”
Bucking the current paywall trend, Quartz will be available for free on all platforms. It is not releasing native apps for Apple’s or Google’s app stores at launch; mobile users will have to find the site using their mobile web browsers. Journalists will pursue “obsessions,” like China’s consumer market and mobile payments, rather than beats.
Another interesting differentiator: Quartz has sponsors rather than advertisers. At present, it has four — Boeing, Cadillac, Chevron and Credit Suisse — who will be the sole sponsors until the end of the year, according to The New York Times.
Instead of running banner ads (Update: There are banner ads), sponsored content will be baked into editorial products, similar to what Facebook and Twitter are doing with their own ad products.
According to The Times, 65% of The Atlantic Co.’s advertising revenue now comes from digital, up from 51% in October 2011.