The Atlantic Finally Turns a Profit

Iconic 153-year-old magazine in the black for first time in decades

The Atlantic said on Thursday that it posted a profit during the fourth quarter — its first in decades.

And according to spokesperson, no one is really sure when the last time it did: "It hasn’t been within institutional memory."

The 153-year-old magazine had been engulfed in red ink for years, but a 2008 redesign and dramatic brand overall — one that emphasized digital first over print — helped push the Atlantic into the black.

The company — led by president Justin Smith and current owner David Bradley — said its overall advertising revenue grew 37 percent in 2010, with print up 27 percent (buoyed by 38 new advertisers) and digital advertising close to 70. The Atlantic's signature events — namely the Aspen Ideas Festival — saw a 37 percent spike in revenue last year.

Traffic to — where Andrew Sullivan's widely-read blog is housed — increased 34 percent to around 5 million uniques per month, according to the magazine's own figures.

While the Atlantic did not disclose exactly how much money it made in 2010, Smith said in June that he was projecting a profitable fourth quarter and "multi-million dollar" profit in 2011.