The Latch bets on Val Morgan to help it thrive

Mariam Cheik-Hussein
By Mariam Cheik-Hussein | 27 November 2019
The Latch

Val Morgan’s The Latch is the latest Australian publication to enter the cluttered digital environment, but its managing director Brian Florido says the support of the outdoor giant will help it thrive.

Launching in February, the site will focus on lifestyle and entertainment for older millennials.

Heading up The Latch with Florido, who helped grow Pedestrian for seven years, is executive editor Amanda Bardas who launched Who What Wear. 

“We were reading sites like the Pedestrian, Vice and Junkee when we were in our early 20s,” Florido says.

“As we started to enter our 30s, the content from those big publishers no longer resonated with us. So we started to identify a gap in the market for people in their 30s that are entering new life stages, such as getting married, owning homes, starting a family, and in terms of contextually relevant content there wasn’t anything.”

The Latch also has an entertainment editor, a lifestyle editor, and is on the hunt for a wellness and beauty editor.

“That’s phase one, the team will grow from there as we unlock commercial opportunities relevant to different team members,” Bardas says, who adds it will cover breaking news when it’s relevant to its audience.

“We’ll be focused more on lifestyle, wellness, entertainment. Conversations you can take from our platforms and have around a dinner table with friends, less the hard-hitting news that you might turn to one of those more mainstream publications for.”

Florido says while there are publications offering lifestyle and entertainment content, with The Guardian recently launching its Lifestyle vertical, their audience remains over 40.

“If you look at the average age of those mainstream publications they are over 40, closer to 50, according to Nielsen,” he says.

“So there’s still a big gap in the middle, those 30-45, and really that’s our sweet spot.”

While digital publishing has had a difficult year, with redundancies hitting big player like Buzzfeed, Florido is confident being part of Val Morgan will allow it to grow.

“Being part of a big environment versus a small standalone publisher, we obviously have the support and scale of that wider network through cinema and outdoor to really succeed,” Florido says.

“Where obviously standalone publishers have been on their own, we’d have the support of either global parent companies or partners here.

“Part of our strategy in terms of growth will be to push content out into the Val Morgan environment, so gyms and retail environments. We'll design relevant content for those environments and then push back into the site, as well as grow our own platform EDMs, social and search.”

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