Atlantic Media’s business site Quartz hits a milestone: more than 1 million visitors

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Quartz, Atlantic Media's fledgling digital media brand devoted to global business and finance, is set to announce today that it reached 1.4 million unique visitors in December.

It's worth an announcement because December was only the third full month of operation for the site, which debuted Sept. 24 with a focus on reaching readers on mobile platforms like tablets and smartphones. The site clocked 840,343 uniques during the month of October and 858,183 in November, according to Omniture metrics provided by a spokesperson.

"We're really happy with the numbers," editor-in-chief Kevin Delaney told Capital in a telephone interview. "They prove that you can do smart global business content and have it very quickly find a large readership that's both international and on mobile and tablet devices. So it only increases our confidence in some of the guiding principals at the launch of Quartz."

Atlantic Media is making the Quartz numbers public as the company's 155-year-old flagship brand, The Atlantic, is celebrating a third year of profitability driven largely by the success of its digital titles, theatlantic.com, The Atlantic Wire and Atlantic Cities. It's also beginning to experiment with paid digital models for The Atlantic, although it appears Quartz will not be a part of that thrust.

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Asked whether the company was toying with a paid model for Quartz, Delaney said: "Not that I'm aware of. Our focus right now is not in that direction."

"There is no plan for a paywall currently," Atlantic publisher Jay Lauf told Capital through a spokesperson. "But as any smart publishing operation should do, we're open to changing our approach down the line if the marketplace proves open to it."

Nor are there plans at the moment to develop an app. Though 48 percent of visitors to qz.com in December read the site on mobile and tablet devices, Quartz wants to stay accessible on the open social web, said Delaney.

"I don't anticipate that we're gonna launch a native app anytime soon, but I also don't rule it out," he said.

Quartz is, however, in the process of expanding its newsroom and sales roster. The current editorial headcount of around 20 will grow in 2013 as the site hires new journalists both in New York and around the world. There are already Quartz correspondents in London, Paris, Hong Kong, India and Indonesia, and more are being recruited to work out of places like South Africa and Singapore, said Delaney.

As for advertising, it was originally reported that Quartz's four launch sponsorships, Boeing, Credit Suisse, Chevron and Cadillac, would take over the site's inventory through the end of 2012.

A spokesperson said the sponsorships were in fact still active going into January, and that the site was not prepared to announce any new partners at the moment.

Delaney said it was still too early to talk about when Quartz might start making money.

"This is a big opportunity and we want to invest in it," he said.