When Quartz launched in 2012, branded content and custom advertising were its bread and butter. Today, hoping to transform itself into a membership-focused media company and paring down the commercial side of its business in favor of what it says is a focus on doing bigger projects for fewer clients.On June 26, Quartz laid off seven business-side employees, ranging from junior sales staff to a creative director. The cuts were the second batch of layoffs Quartz has endured this year; another four positions, about one-fifth of its U.K. commercial team, were eliminated at the beginning of 2019.
Altogether, Quartz has seen 25 people, close to 10% of the company headcount, depart either voluntarily or through layoffs over the past 12 months, a majority of them from the business side.
Though Quartz has done some hiring over that same stretch, including a pair of membership editors and several community and customer service specialists, it employs slightly fewer people today than it did at the start of 2019, down from 243 in January to 235, according to a company spokesperson.
The layoffs come as Quartz shifts its focus to paid subscriptions. Site traffic is down 50% year over year, according to Comscore data, sliding from 12 million monthly unique users in May 2018 to 6 million unique users in May 2019. That slide began in 2018, months before Quartz introduced a metered paywall in May 2019. The paywall has had a negligible effect on Quartz’s traffic, multiple
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