MTG and Trace TV: A Synergy of Convenience


Trace and MTG have announced a strategic partnership that is based on a pragmatic, synergetic and visionary business alliance, according to Mr Olivier Laouchez CEO of Trace. For Balancing Act’s broadcast newsletter and website, Themba Ndlwana interviewed Laouchez  and provides the essence of the deal.

This alliance underpins mutual benefit and resource sharing where both entities will tirelessly and robustly search and identify suitable and proper opportunities for collaboration or selflessly develop business prospects for each other.
This is another leap forward and milestone for Trace, in its meteoric rise into prominence as a formidable media player in just 10 years of existence. The Trace group consists of Trace Urban, Trace Tropical, Trace Africa and Trace Sports. Trace Urban is the Hip Hop and R&B music chain of the group, while Trace Tropical is dedicated to tropical music, Trace Africa is an African music channel and Trace Sports is the sport celebrity lifestyle function of the group.

Modern Times Group (MTG) is a leading international entertainment broadcasting group with the second largest geographical broadcast footprint in Europe. MTG is a global media conglomerate with tentacles in 4 continents, with 29 Pay TV brands, 33 Free-to-air brands, 16 Play TV brands, 19 HD TV brands and 30 other businesses under its stewardship.

On paper the partnership looks like a formidable and impeccable duo that is a recipe for success. But Laouchez insists that the basic and elementary business principles and entrepreneurial spirit is underpinning this partnership. The duo’s combined business experience is going to guide the identification of opportunities and implementation of any strategic initiatives that have been decided upon. 

He asserts that the emphasis on producing quality products will inevitable attract viewers and then ultimately this will lead to greater market share and superior market position. This, he alludes, is the gradual market development process that he foresees as the cornerstone of the collaboration. It is a long term partnership which at this moment is at its rudimentary stages; it will need to be defined and understood by both entities.  Nonetheless, this doesn’t deter Laouchez from expressing a conspicuous upbeat tone about the mouth-watering prospects about the partnership.

When asked about the prospects of the partnership venturing into Africa, Laouchez expressed an unmistakable optimism because, as he explains, the prospect of partnering with MTG on all of its African platforms is an opportunity that will define and characterise the partnership.

MTG’s African operations comprise of two free to Air TV channels, Viasat1 and TV1 in Ghana and Tanzania respectively, Modern Africa Productions, and the distribution of 4 MTG’s Viasat documentary channels on third party broadcast networks in six African countries. While both parties are gradually expanding their respective footprints in the continent, the partnership will become the foundation for brainstorming, sharing of ideas and most importantly the bedrock for sharing of risk and understanding of the uncertainty that is inherent in any emerging market, just like Africa. But he is adamant that risk is part of business as long they have a good product, they will be successful.

Laouchez also feels that Trace Sports has got tremendous potential in Africa. He states that sports fans are as much interested in their favourite sports person’s lifestyle as they are about their athletic performance on the field. He is cautiously optimistic about the African market because it is a new product, which needs to be developed and integrated into the TV viewership dynamics of the continent.
Africa, according to him, has a compelling story to tell and the world is waiting to hear it. He believes that focusing on creating sustainable and good quality products for the domestic African market will subsequently lead to and attract interest from the international audience. It is Africa’s time to set the world on fire, according to him.

In conclusion, he made an insightful but frank statement “It is the beginning of a new story that is based on synergy to deliver and create a lot value through strong entrepreneurial spirit for mutual benefit”. A visionary and pragmatic outlook on this partnership is a prerequisite, and Laouchez has both of these characteristics.