TORONTO — Torstar Corp. and Enthusiast Gaming have announced a joint venture to create an online news platform aimed at Gen Z communities in English-speaking countries around the world.
The two companies say the new AFK platform will adopt a tone and format that's familiar to fans of online video games like Fortnite and Call of Duty.
Torstar's chief client officer Mike Beckerman says advertisers have a great interest in reaching the Gen Z and millennial age groups, which include teens and young adults born since the early 1980s.
Beckerman says Torstar also sees a chance to give that audience a view of news and entertainment events outside of gaming.
He says the AFK online platform is expected to go live in September.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Enthusiast Gaming chief executive Adrian Montgomery says the company currently reaches about 300 million people per month through its various platforms.
"Which makes us largest gaming platform in the English speaking world," Montgomery said in an interview Wednesday.
The new platform is called AFK because it's a gamer term for "away from keyboard" and represents Enthusiast's strategy of engaging the gamer crowd with a variety of content while they're not playing, he said.
"When a young person is playing Fortnite or playing Call of Duty, they're actually on the servers of the game publisher. . . And when they're done, they're going to go to websites, they're going to join forums, they're going to go to follow say their favourite teams," Montgomery said.
Enthusiast Gaming provides this audience with content geared to their interests through a variety of online platforms, including its own website and YouTube channel.
The company generates revenue from a combination of advertising and subscriptions, which come at a variety of prices depending on features and the platforms.
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Torstar holds an investment in The Canadian Press as part of a joint agreement with subsidiaries of the Globe and Mail and Montreal's La Presse.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 7, 2021.
David Paddon, The Canadian Press