File Image: The Netflix logo on a television in Encinitas/ Reuters
File Image: The Netflix logo on a television in Encinitas/ Reuters

How Netflix is trying to make it in Africa

By Reuters Time of article published Oct 21, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - Netflix Inc is showing more African-made content and working with telecoms operators to make it easier for potential subscribers to make payments, a senior executive told Reuters ahead of its third-quarter results on Tuesday. Soraya Ali reports.

How does a big online streaming service like Netflix make inroads into a place like the African continent -- where internet can be slow, expensive, and not everyone has a credit card?

The answer: working through the telecoms operators themselves -- making a Netflix subscription a part of customers' regular internet bill.

That and other strategies are all about ease of access, according to its head of programming for Africa, Dorothy Ghettuba:

"The business is excited about Africa and it's putting every effort behind it and we are investing very seriously in it and then in terms of our strategy we have always said that we do believe that great stories come from everywhere and they can be loved everywhere across the world and it's no different from African stories.”

The online giant -- which has 193 million subscribers globally -- is seeking ways to overcome the challenges of expanding to the 55-nation continent.

Netflix already has partnerships with operators like Vodacom and Telkom South Africa.

As to internet speeds, Ghettuba says they're trying to address it by allowing wi-fi downloads for later viewing. Rather than pricey mobile data for streaming.

Netflix isn't the only player, though. The pay-TV market in Africa is dominated by South Africa's Multichoice Group.

It has dozens of channels dedicated to news and live sports events -- and an online streaming service -- giving it an edge over Nexflix.

To improve its market appeal, Netflix has been boosting its library with African productions -- like its first Kenyan film “Poacher.”

"We want to be able to say that Africa has got as many stories as the people in it and so, it is important for us to provide for our members across the globe that range and diversity of content from Africa, but we are truly, truly invested in Africa."

Ghettuba declined to specify the value of Netflix's investments in Africa.

But the company has agreed to a slew of content-licensing deals with African producers in Senegal, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Angola, and Mozambique.


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