Trace Convention 2012 sees strong emphasis on Africa


Founded in 2003, TRACE is an international brand and media group specialised in music and sport. The four TRACE TV channels are watched by over a potential audience of 60 million subscribers in more than 160 countries. TRACE also develops digital and mobile services, licences radio stations and organises events for its viewers.

On January 23, 2012, before an audience of about 300 people at the Elysées-Biarritz in Paris (France), the Trace media group took stock of its first 8 years, presented upcoming developments in 2012, the conclusion of its study on French youths, and the Trace Foundation, which plans on paving the way to success for young people. Trace’s management team, famous athletes, friends and journalists were at the party.

Sylvain Béletre’s Balancing Act attended the event – the Trace Convention 2012 - and looked into the relations and impact with the African market. Despite limited audience data available, Trace already claims to be ahead of other major paid music channels across the African continent, and its strong link with Black culture probably explains why.

Almost ten years back, Olivier Laouchez created Trace because he realized that if the urban culture is very present in France and recognized in many countries, it was poorly represented in the French media. The group became profitable in three years.

Trace now has four TV channels, all potentially very attractive to the African market:
Trace Urban - focused on urban culture, music such as hip-hop and R&b - is Trace’s star and the leading pay television music channel among 15-34 year-olds in France and 60 countries throughout Africa, the Caribbean, and the Indian Ocean. In Africa, it is available on all main Pay TV bouquets but its expansion is limited due to current exclusive distribution rights. Content-wise, it includes a large share of black music. Its audience is larger among female than male.

Trace is planning to replicate its Trace Urban success with its new sports entertainment channel, Trace Sports (see our previous story here ), which is entirely dedicated to sports celebrities. As we know according to several surveys carried out across Africa, the African audience is very keen on sport channels, especially male.

Trace  Tropical is the leading Latin and Caribbean music channel, also appealing to Africans.

Finally, Trace Africa is the number one Pay TV channel for African hits, recently launched everywhere including across several African countries. With those four channels, Trace still holds a large potential to roll out in the USA targeting the youth segment, music and sport lovers, the African diaspora and black-Americans.

The Convention was the occasion for Olivier Laouchez, co-founder and CEO of Trace to announce several innovations and to unveil parts of its 2012 strategic plans. TRACE will be launching a series of services to reinforce its ties with its audience:

The launch of Trace FM radio stations in the Indian Ocean and Africa will add another competitor to the already crowded radio scene. There will be a “Special Trace Sports” programming focussing on champions set to shine at the upcoming London Games and at the Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine (football).

A series of Guest Star programmes will be dedicated to the 2012 French presidential elections, with a focus on the candidates’ proposed schemes for young French people, in particular to young people in cities’ suburbs. Main elections candidates have accepted to be interviewed by the media group.

Trace has launched a new web portal - that includes all four identities of the Trace brand.

The group has also deployed Trace channels on OTT, Smart TV services and mobile service in France and in several countries in Africa. Trace went into banking with the launch of a Trace prepaid card with PCS Mastercard.

Trace has created the ‘Trace Marketing Solutions integrated division’, related to social networks to allow brands and agencies to take advantage of TRACE’s infrastructure and expertise with regards to the youth market.

Joëlle Kayembé – a South African Super Model present at the convention - has become the new ambassador of the Trace brand and foundation. Her tasks will be two-folds: promotional modelling and branding, and the humanitarian job where she will work with charities on behalf of Trace. Kayembé could also have her own talk show on air (probably on Trace Sport).

The study carried out by Trace, called “State of Emergency”, on the tough condition of young people in France – including a large share from the African diaspora - shows that their situation is particularly distressing, between record unemployment figures, marginalisation in the education system, and social exclusion.

Aware of the important role it plays in the life of its young viewers, Trace created the Trace Foundation (‘la foundation Trace’ in French) to help overcome this state of affairs and give them the tools to succeed and to voice their needs.

The Foundation first aims to act on the following fronts:
1. Allow young people to get better vocational guidance and information about the job market
2. Support initiatives, championed by artists and athletes that aim to help underprivileged youths

The only thing that Trace lovers could regret is that Trace channels are only available on pay TV platforms. Olivier Laouchez highlighted that he did not get much help from those in power, and declined to submit an application to obtain a French free-to-air DTT frequency in April. This is mainly due to the cost of DTT distribution, more than Euros 10 million per year, which only large TV companies can hope to achieve a return, said Laouchez.

See videos of the event: Links below Top Story above.