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Thebe invests in VOD provider Discover Digital

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Stephen Watson, founding MD of Discover Digital.
Stephen Watson, founding MD of Discover Digital.

Black empowerment investment firm Thebe Investment has bought a 51% controlling stake in Discover Digital South Africa and 50.1% in Discover Digital International.

The deal, which has been concluded, sees Thebe control the two firms and work towards the fulfilment of its strategic goals in the technology sector.

Established in 2014, Discover Digital is an end-to-end digital media, content and fintech solutions provider.

The company has developed various technological solutions for clients, including video-on-demand (VOD), television and e-commerce platforms.

The acquisition, according to Discover Digital, positions it for future growth in the digital tech, content and fintech spaces.

“The acquisition of Discover Digital contributes to the fulfilment of Thebe’s ambitions in this sector, by being another source of local content and a platform that distributes content to intended audiences supporting Thebe’s current portfolio of media assets, which include Kaya FM and Thebe Connect,” says Jerry Mabena, CEO of Thebe Services.

Founded in 1992, Thebe manages assets of over R6 billion, with an investment portfolio that spans tourism, mining resources, infrastructure, renewable energy, petrochemicals, telecommunications, financial services and healthcare.

According to the investment firm, the primary objective of the Discover Digital acquisition is to become a significant player in the development and distribution of locally-produced content. Key to this strategy, it notes, is access to various content and distribution platforms, and the provision of requisite mobile telecommunications platforms such as WiFi and LTE/4G, through targeted acquisitions or strategic partnerships across the African continent.

Stephen Watson, founding MD of Discover Digital, says the deal positions his company to grow across the continent and become a major player in enabling VOD and Internet Protocol television solutions for broadcasters, telecommunication players and content owners from a distribution and technology perspective.

“It is great to have Thebe on board as a shareholder in the business. For the first time, we have a strategic partner that shares a common vision on the growth of media and particularly the digital transformation journey that is happening in SA and on the continent,” notes Watson.

In 2017, Discover Digital partnered with Sun International to offer hotel guests a VOD service that entails a selection of rental and subscription video entertainment on-demand services, direct to viewers' phones, tablets and laptops.

The company claims its Digital Entertainment on Demand product provides one of the first platforms on the continent that delivers linear, transactional VOD and subscription VOD services in one platform.

Watson adds the company has aspirations to maximise its opportunities in Africa. “We would like to show this technology can be implemented and sold globally, with the benefit of being developed in a soft currency market, which means we can be extremely competitive.”

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