MEDIA company Avusa has entered the group-buying arena with the launch today of Zappon.co.za, drawing on a trend that has gained momentum worldwide and is taking off in SA.

Zappon.co.za will not be without a fair amount of competition, with local sites UbuntuDeal, Dealio, Skoop, Wicount, MyCityDeal, Dealson and a South African version of global group-buying success story, Groupon, to contend with. But Elan Lohmann, Zappon creator and GM of Avusa Media LIVE, believes trust in Avusa's brands - The Times, Sunday Times and the Sowetan - will attract good offers for customers.

"We know we are entering an incredibly competitive market at the moment but feel this is the perfect timing for the launch of Zappon.co.za," Mr Lohmann said.

"At Avusa we have rallied all our resources, both internally and with the assistance of external partners, to turn around a great product for our consumers.

"Marrying advertising and retail . makes strategic sense for Avusa Media, with company brands already targeting and advertising to an established and loyal audience. At the moment we are offering clients massive media exposure to roughly 2-million readers a day, via print, direct mail, website and social media channels - all at no charge."

Most products on offer could be considered luxury deals, such as massages and restaurant meals.

Mr Lohmann said Zappon would advertise a new deal each day via various channels, all targeted at different cities. Deals would range from 40%- 90% off, but would typically be about 50% off.

Groupon - seen as a true success story of this form of buying, in which discounts are offered on condition a minimum number of people take up the offer - has more than 35-million registered users in North America, Europe, Asia and South America.

Zappon.co.za has been launched under the Avusa Media LIVE banner and its local partners include Digital Solutions Group, RSAWeb and August Sun Projects.

benjaminc@bdfm.co.za