Trace has acquired the pan-African VOD service Buni.tv in preparation for the launch of its own VOD platform TracePlay, scheduled for later this year.
Buni.tv made its debut in 2012 as one of the first ever VOD platforms to focus on the African market. Previously a company of the pan-African studio Restless Global, it is now one of the continent’s three leading VOD services alongside Iroko TV and Naspers’s Showman.
Commenting on the development, Trace CEO Olivier Laouchez said: “Trace and Buni.tv share the same strategic vision in that we believe that VOD is the future of television.
“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.”
Marie Lora-Mungai, Buni.tv’s CEO, added: “Critical mass is crucial for the success of any VOD service.
“As the African VOD market becomes increasingly competitive and sophisticated, we are thrilled to join forces with a solid and forward-thinking partner such as Trace.”
As part of the deal, Trace will secure the pay-TV and VOD rights to popular comedy shows produced by Buni.tv’s sister company Buni Media.
As a first step, Buni.tv will be hosted under the TracePlay banner, although the plan is eventually for both services to fully merge. Buni.tv’s existing subscribers will have access to the full TracePlay catalogue, which will include at launch thousands of hours of African and international content.
Trace’s acquisition of Buni.tv also means that Lora-Mungai will join race to consult on the company’s content development strategy for Africa.