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Trace TV is fixing to launch arguably the most anticipated SVOD offering of the year, Trace Play. Their ambitious roll-out will involve making Trace Play available in English and French in 100 countries around the world. Trace’s Co-founder and CEO Olivier Laouchez is clearly serious about making sure that Trace TV remains the #1 urban network outside of the US.
This past week, Vodacom South Africa announced the planned launch of an SVOD of their own called Vodacom On Demand. They plan to go live in 2017 with DSTV’s ShowMax onboard in a very cosy arrangement that’s left us wondering if their partnership could grow into something more substantial, like a deal to rival AT&T’s recent acquisition of Time Warner, for instance. Vodacom has said that they’re happy to partner with as many serious content players as might want to play with them, revealing that a future partnership with Netflix will happen in due course.
We're fairly certain that a deal of AT&T-Time Warner proportions between a telco and big content player is inevitable as the continent’s VOD market matures. Some commentators have suggested that the AT&T-Time Warner deal was driven by the notion that distribution rather than sheer size, or even access to quality content is vital for success in executing big media plays in the digital age.
There’s no doubt that on some level the deal represents a lifeboat for Time Warner, given how all of its cable channels are losing subscribers at an alarming rate. AT&T’s extensive wireless footprint and a significant share of America’s direct video businesses, DirecTV and U-verse could help turn that around. Traditional media players on the continent could very well see similar saviour potential in a mobile network like Vodacom, and be hoping that the mobile telco comes knocking to propose acquisition.