Marie Lora-Mungai and Tendeka Matatu have merged their assets – which include Buni.tv, Buni Media and Ten10 Films – to form Restless Global.
Restless Global unites all of the pair’s operations under one umbrella, covering everything from finance to distribution and becoming the first African studio to be involved at every step of the content production and distribution pipeline.
The pair already owned Restless Talent Management, a global agency that focuses on African film and TV talent, with Lora-Mungai telling Disrupt Africa that as things evolved they had realised they shared a common vision and their skills and expertise were complementary.
“Separately, our various business divisions face some tough competition, but together, we’re able to leverage a real competitive advantage. Joining forces officially was the next logical step on the way to becoming the main proponents of quality African content,” she said.
Lora-Mungai and Matatu each own 50 per cent of the new holding company. Lora-Mungai said there was a need for a long-term strategy that puts content at the centre and enables Buni.tv to survive for the time it will take for the video-on-demand (VoD) market to mature.
“Tendeka brings to the table a certain set of skills that are complementary to mine. In particular, he is one of Africa’s most prolific film producers, whereas I come from the world of television. He also has a lot of experience with distribution. But the most important factor is that we work together extremely well,” she said.
She said it would not change the way Buni.tv worked, but said down the line it will strengthen the platform’s ability to secure the best content to satisfy its audience.
“The African VoD space is extremely competitive right now,” she said, pointing to Balancing Act research which says more than 100 VoD platforms have launched in the last three years.
“Most of them will die. New entrants are spending a lot of money on content – money that it is way too early to make back – which is driving content prices up to unsustainable levels. Meanwhile we are still facing logistical challenges like internet speeds and cost of data. We are still a long way from African VoD being a profitable business, but we believe that Restless Global and Buni.tv have the right plan to succeed on this new market.”