TRACE TV has acquired pan-African VOD service Buni.tv, and in preparation for the launch of its own VOD platform TRACE Play, which is scheduled for later this year.
Launched in 2012 in Nairobi, then expanded across Africa, Buni.tv first started with African political satirical videos then expanded into comedy and mainstream entertainment. The VOD platform was made popular by its XYZ show in Kenya and Oga at the Top in Nigeria.
Restless Global, Buni.tv’s parent firm has exited at the right time as Africa’s VOD sector hits up with the launch of Netflix, Naspers’ ShowMax, Econet’s KweseTV, Nigeria’s Legend.ng among others. Ericcson is also planning to launch its VOD platform too. Iroko TV still stands strong with its major focus on Nollywood content.
“Critical mass is crucial for the success of any VOD service,” said Buni.tv’s CEO Marie Lora-Mungai. “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.”
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.
As part of the deal, TRACE secures the Pay TV and VOD rights to highly sought-after comedy shows Ogas At The Top (Nigeria) and The XYZ Show (Kenya), produced by Buni.tv’s sister company Buni Media.
As a first step, Buni.tv will be hosted under the TRACE Play banner, although the plan is eventually for both services to fully merge. Buni.tv’s existing subscribers will have access to the full TRACE Play catalogue, which will include at launch thousands of hours of African and international content.
“TRACE and Buni.tv share the same strategic vision in that we believe that VOD is the future of television,” said 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.”