The Atlantic Sets Audience Records, Reaches Revenue Highs, in Q1 2015

Three powerful covers lead to newsstand spike; new highs for and

Washington, D.C. (April 2, 2015)—The Atlantic is beginning the second quarter of 2015 with the highest-ever audiences for both and, record advertising and underwriting revenue gains, and newsstand performance that points toward the publication’s largest sales in five years. Co-presidents James Bennet, editor in chief, and Bob Cohn, chief operating officer, made the announcement today, crediting powerful journalism in the magazine, on the websites and at events, and creative advertising and marketing programs.

In March, both and set audience records, rounding out new quarterly highs. topped 21 million unique monthly visitors in March; January-March have now eclipsed October-December 2014 as the three highest consecutive months of traffic for the site. closed March at its highest point—20 percent over the previous mark.

At the same time, The Atlantic closed its best-ever quarter for digital and print advertising revenue, up 30 percent year over year. Sales for its events division, AtlanticLIVE, were similarly up 30 percent compared to the same time last year. Atlantic Media Strategies, The Atlantic’s creative consultancy, increased sales by 75 percent in the first quarter, launching digital projects with the World Lung Foundation and startup incubator 1776.

Notable among the first quarter highlights:

  • The Magazine: The Atlantic’s first three issues of the year ignited global conversations about the failures of the American military, the ideology driving the Islamic State, and whether anti-Semitism in Europe has reached the point that Jews should leave the Continent. Within ten days of its release, the March cover story, “What ISIS Really Wants” by contributing editor Graeme Wood, rose to become the single most-read story in the publication’s history and contributed to single-day and weekly audience records at Early indications from newsstand sales show the March issue trending to be The Atlantic’s best-selling single issue in five years. For the first time, The Atlantic has broken into the top 10 among all magazines sold at Barnes & Noble, and it is now the top monthly in the Current Events category.

  • The site, reporting on all things urban, set a new audience record in March, beating its all-time high by 20 percent. Since its May 2014 rebranding, CityLab has added to its masthead and continues to expand its presence across social media. Contributing to this success is the popular new “Navigator” section, which helps readers survive their city with practical advice on everything from restaurant and mass transit etiquette to how to stop getting a previous tenant’s mail. CityLab reports on the cities of today—and tomorrow—combining in-depth reporting with maps, photos, and videos.

  • Advertising: Immersive campaigns including those for Netflix’s House of Cards and IBM, and continued expansion into the luxury, entertainment, and liquor categories, contributed to The Atlantic’s record revenue performance at the start of the year. The first quarter growth of 30 percent builds on a record-setting 2014, which saw advertising and underwriting revenue up 31 percent; last fall, the brand introduced a design-first sponsor content template and saw a three-fold increase in audience engagement.

  • Atlantic Media Strategies: The creative consultancy of The Atlantic increased sales by 75 percent year over year in Q1, as it expands its digital and brand strategy work. Among its early 2015 projects were the launch of The World Lung Foundation’s data-rich Tobacco Atlas, and the website redesign and strategic branding for D.C.-based 1776.

  • AtlanticLive: The events arm of The Atlantic staged programs last quarter on entrepreneurship in South Florida (Start-Up City: Miami), economic progress on the West Coast (Bold Bets: California on the Move?, in Sacramento), and urban workforce development (City Makers Summit, in Washington, D.C.). Its Navigate conference, held late last year in San Francisco, featured tech leaders and thinkers from around the country.