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, which is scheduled for later this year.

Previously a company of pan-African studio Restless Global, Buni.tv was launched in 2012 as one of the first ever VOD platforms to focus on the African market and is today recognized as one of the 3 largest VOD services on the continent alongside Iroko TV and Nasper’s Showmax.

“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.”

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 catalog, which will include at launch thousands of hours of African and international 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 throughout Africa.