Youth-oriented media group Trace is to launch a subscription VoD service for sub-Saharan Africa in the first quarter of next year and has hired Nathalie Morley, the former creative director of Fashion TV, to run the unit. Trace is also to develop scripted series and movies under the Trace Studios name.
“We are going to invest in original production,” CEO Olivier Laouchez told DTVE. Trace Studios’ first projects will be series set in Cote d’Ivoire called Pti Bisous, produced in partnership with local broadcaster RTI, Lagardère Entertainment-backed Diffa and Martica Productions, and movie Le Gang des Antillais, based on true story about gangsters from the Caribbean island, to star Mathieu Kassovitz and Romane Bohringer.
Laouchez said Trace had further ambitions to develop original productions, with former SABC executive Leo Manne, now Trace’s SVP in South Africa charged with identifying projects, with addition series or movies expected to be announced by the end of the year. Laouchez said Trace would invest with partners in projects for which it could secure rights across both French and English-speaking markets.
Trace Play, the company’s SVoD offering, will include “a huge component of African content” with music, kids shows and series, which would be available across French and English-speaking sub-Saharan Africa as well as French-speaking countries in Europe.
Trace is developing a raft of other projects to expand its presence in Africa, including the launch of Trace Mobile in partnership with Cell C. For this Trace is developing a streaming app with Universal Music that will include music, games and other content. “We are working with Universal to adapt music streaming to Africa,” said Laouchez. The service will include the ability to download as well as stream content.
Trace is also launching a new music channel, Trace Gospel, which will air Gospel music and will be available in English and French versions. Laouchez said the first platform deal for the channel is expected to be announced in November.
Trace will also launch the third edition of its Trace Music Stars competition, where contestants record song entries by mobile with a chance to win a recording contract. This year’s edition will involve the country finalists being taken to Altanta in the US for the final stage of the competition.
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