French music video TV network TRACE TV has acquired African video-on-demand (VoD) provider Buni.tv, in preparation for the launch of its own video-on-demand (VoD) platform, TRACE Play, later this year.
Buni.tv will at first be hosted under the TRACE Play banner, but the plan is eventually for both services to fully merge.
Buni.tv’s existing subscribers will have access to the full TRACE Play catalogue when it launches, which will include 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 chief executive officer (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.”
Launched in 2012 as one of the first VoD providers focusing on the African market, Buni.tv claims to be one of the three largest VOD services on the African continent, alongside iROKOtv and Naspers-owned Showmax.
The startup has taken a number of steps to alter its business model over the past year, as the startup sought survival while the African VoD market matures.
Disrupt Africa reported in March 2015 Buni.tv CEO Marie-Lora Mungai and Ten10 Films founder Tendeka Matatu merged their assets to form Restless Global; an umbrella organisation covering everything from finance to distribution, to become the first African studio to be involved at every step of the content production and distribution pipeline.
Months later, in November, Buni.tv announced a series of partnerships making the service available across Africa, the US and the UK.
“The African VOD market is still in an experimental phase, and we are keen to try out various business models to learn how audiences prefer to consume our content,” Lora-Mungai said at the time.