US digital media outlets venture abroad

With its coming launches in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, Quartz hopes to plug into the fast-spreading internet and mobile connectivity in largely underserved markets.

“We see an opportunity to cover Africa for business people around the world and for the business class in Africa in a way that hasn’t been fully tapped,” said Kevin Delaney, co-founder and editor-in-chief of the site, a division of Atlantic Media, which publishes the Atlantic.

Quartz’s expansion, which follows its launch in India last year, is part of a broader push by US digital-media companies to establish local footholds around the world. The Huffington Post has set up shop in 13 markets including Canada, the UK and Greece. Vice Media is in Mexico, Serbia, Italy and dozens of other countries. BuzzFeed has sites targeting Brazil, Germany and Spain among others.

Quartz, which launched two years ago, is far smaller than those online publishing heavyweights. It had 5.2 million unique users in January, while Huffington Post had 115 million, according to comScore.

Turning these international forays into profitable ventures won’t be easy. The US market is challenging enough for online publishers, with softness in display ad prices and cutthroat competition for readers making it hard to generate profits.


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