Trace TV has announced the acquisition of pan-African VOD service Buni.tv, in preparation for the launch of its own VOD platform Trace Play, slated for later this year.
Previously part of pan-African studio Restless Global, Buni.tv was launched in 2012 as one of the first VOD platforms to focus on the African market. Today it’s one of the three largest VOD services on the continent.
“Trace and Buni.tv share the same strategic vision in that we believe that VOD is the future of television,” says Trace CEO Olivier Laouchez. “We also share the same analysis that the success of any VOD service in Africa will depend on whether it can source and offer high quality original African content.”
As part of the deal, Trace secures the pay-TV and VOD rights to the popular Nigerian comedy “Ogas at the Top,” and the hit Kenyan political satire “The XYZ Show,” produced by Buni.tv’s sister company Buni Media.
Buni.tv will first be hosted under the Trace Play banner, although the two services will eventually fully merge. Buni.tv’s existing subscribers will have access to the full Trace Play catalog, which will include at launch thousands of hours of African and international content.
Buni.tv CEO Marie Lora-Mungai says the acquisition by Trace offers an opportunity to become part of a rapidly growing industry leader in black urban entertainment.
“We are excited by their on-going expansion into film and scripted television as well as into VOD with Trace Play, which is central to their ambition to become the first studio focused on black urban cultures across Africa, the Caribbean, and large diaspora markets,” says Lora-Mungai. “As pioneers of VOD on the African market, we’re looking forward to sharing Buni.tv’s experience with them as they enter this new phase of growth.”
Trace’s acquisition of Buni.tv also means that Lora-Mungai will join Trace to consult on the company’s content development strategy for Africa.