Tag Archives: Olivier Laouchez

Trace appoints Endemol veteran CEO

Former Endemol Shine Africa CEO Sivan Pillay has been appointed boss of the newly formed Trace Studios in South Africa.

Sivan Pillay

Trace Studios is the result of the acquisition by Trace of Cape Town-based Okuhle Media Studios, which has been merged with Trace’s content production and distribution operations.

Pillay has been tasked with establishing Trace Studios as a premium creator, producer and distributor of TV and film content for Africa and the world.

The company produces a range of content, including branded content, unscripted programming and scripted drama series.

Pillay joined Endemol South Africa in 2000 after beginning his career in the music industry, becoming managing director in 2008. He was later named CEO of Endemol Shine Africa after the merger between Endemol and Shine.

He worked on a slate that included Big Brother Africa, Isidingo, Survivor South Africa, Fear Factor and Deal or No Deal and has served as executive producer on over 125 TV shows and commercial partnerships in Africa.

After his Endemol years and until the end of 2021, Pillay was the founder and CEO of 360 Degrees South and Zero Gravity TV & Media, where he developed over 40 TV formats that will be part of the Trace Studios format catalogue.

Olivier Laouchez, Trace Group’s executive chairman, said: “Content is about talent. Having a talent like Sivan is a major step to realise one of Trace’s key objectives to be a leader in independent audiovisual production.”

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Trace TV unveils training platform in SA

Music video channel Trace has launched a free vocational training platform named Trace Academia in South Africa.

Olivier Laouchez

The platform was launched by Elisabeth Moreno, South Africa’s minister for gender equality, diversity and equal opportunities; Olivier Laouchez, co-founder and executive chairman of Trace; and Trace Academia’s joint MD Prejlin Naidoo.

Trace Academia has been designed in response to the high rate of unemployment in South Africa and the African continent. The platform will educate and empower young South Africans with skills needed to find or create jobs.

Aimed at training over 25 million young people by 2025, the locally produced training courses have been created in collaboration with leading companies, institutions and experts to ensure that the skills provided are well matched to market needs. There will also be trainings on soft skills, entrepreneurship, job acquisition and others.

Laouchez said: “To build Trace Academia, we’ve combined our expertise and experience in entertainment with cutting-edge learning approaches adapted to the realities and cultures of Africa. The young people we have worked with in building the platform find the content highly engaging.

“In fact, in a recent study of 17- to 25-year-olds in SA, Kenya and Nigeria, 96% said the app would motivate them to further their education or improve their employment prospects. We believe that Trace Academia has the potential to positively impact the lives of millions of young people in South Africa and across the continent.”

According to Trace TV, Trace Academia will be launched in the rest of the world by the end of this year, with more courses to be produced with leading companies, institutions and experts globally. The Trace Academia application can be downloaded on the Apple App store and Google Play store.

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Trace, Thema merge gospel nets

African music channel operator Trace has signed a deal with Paris-based channel distributor Thema to merge their two gospel-themed TV channels into one.

Olivier Laouchez

Trace Gospel will combine with Thema’s Gospel Music TV under the brand Trace Gospel, bringing together two catalogues and both companies’ expertise, operated by Trace.

The merger will see Trace Gospel promoting African gospel musicians by airing more genres of gospel music. The channel will also feature weekly playlists and gospel music events.

Trace Gospel is available on Canal+ packages in Africa as well as TNT EasyTV on channel 38.

Trace is owned by venture capital firm TPG Growth, which bought the company from Modern Times Group (MTG) earlier this year, while Thema is part of Canal+ International.

Speaking about the move, Trace CEO Olivier Laouchez said: “This partnership with Thema and Canal+ International was decided in order to offer a channel that brings even more satisfaction to gospel music fans.

“It’s a great pride and responsibility for Trace. We will bring to this channel all the means and all the expertise of the group in order to place it on the top of spiritual musical channels.”

Fabrice Faux

Thema CEO Fabrice Faux added: “Thema is proud to have developed Gospel Music TV to become the reference channel for this music dear to all Africans, on the continent and in France.

“I have no doubt that Trace, whose expertise in the musical field is unanimously recognised and which is a long-standing partner of Thema, will be able to take this channel even further and, thanks to this merger, double subscriber satisfaction.”

According to the companies, Trace Gospel is “the link between all cultures” and will broadcast “gospel artists from Africa, the Caribbean, the US, Europe and Latin America.”

Artists featured on the combined network will include Nathaniel Bassey, Mike Abdul, Jimmy Gait, Dena Mwana, Jermaine Edouards, J Prince, Hezekiah L. Walker, Kirk Franklin, Erica Campbell, Travis Greene, Tasha Cobbs, Olivier Cheuwa, Maggie Blanchard and Gabriela Rocha.”

With more than 200 million viewers across 160 countries, Trace is currently one of Africa’s leading music broadcasters. MTG’s sale of its 75% stake to TPG in January valued the company at €40m (US$46.7m).

Thema launched its first African TV channels package on the French market in 2008. Today, the company’s African package includes 24 channels. Thema is also creator of TV channels such as Novelas TV, Nollywood TV and Nollywood Epic.

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