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US-based streaming service Netflix boosts SA economy with R900 million investment in film production

US-based streaming giant Netflix has pledged to spend more than R929 million in four South Africa-based productions over the next 2 years. Photo: REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

US-based streaming giant Netflix has pledged to spend more than R929 million in four South Africa-based productions over the next 2 years. Photo: REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

Published Mar 24, 2022

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US-based streaming giant Netflix undertaken to spend more than R929 million in four South Africa-based productions over the next two years.

Netflix’s pledge was announced at the 4th Annual South African Investment Conference in Johannesburg this morning.

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This is a vote of confidence in South Africa’s economy, and a big endorsement to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ambition to raise R1.2 trillion in investment over 5 years.

Netflix Southern Africa public policy director Shola Sanni said the investment will cover one international and three local productions, filmed in South Africa in 2022 and 2023.

Sanni said that South Africa was fast becoming a top global location for Netflix productions, with the country viewed as a go-to location with a talented film industry filled with local creatives.

She said when a Netflix original is commissioned, there is an opportunity for writers, directors, actors, stylists and make-up artists, as well as a long list of industries and trades that make the production of a complex series or film possible.

“There’s also a multiplier-effect with any investment: the economic impact of each of the projects in South Africa is several times greater than the actual money invested,” it said.

“These productions, which are just some of the many shows the company is creating in South Africa with local production partners like Film Afrika, Gambit Films, Quizzical Pictures and Burnt Onion, will significantly boost the South African film and TV industry.”

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Netflix said it had invested over R2 billion in South African productions over the last five years, resulting in 1 900 jobs being created in the process.

Next month, Netflix will air an exclusive 5-part docuseries on the events leading up to the yet-to-be-solved murder of South Africa’s national team goalkeeper and captain Senzo Meyiwa.

Netflix said it would showcase South Africa’s local stories to a global audience of 222 million users across more than 190 countries, create job opportunities and bolster the local economy.

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“With such investments in the pipeline, we are keen to see the government of South Africa continue to maintain the favourable investment environment that has allowed for such investments thus far,” Sanni said.

Last week, President Cyril Ramaphosa and trade minister Ebrahim Patel visited the show’s set at the Cape Town Film Studios.

Meanwhile, Google South Africa said it was proceeding with its investment of $1 billion over five years, announced in October last year, to support Africa’s digital transformation.

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Google SA country director Dr Alistair Mokoena said they believed in Africa’s potential to succeed and the belief that digital technology would change lives and livelihood.

“This is really about a couple of areas, the key one being to bring fast, affordable and reliable internet access to the continent.

“It is sad that in 2022 out of 1.2 billion Africans, only just over 300 million are on the internet. And if you look at Europe, the average internet penetration is about 90 percent, and the US is around 90 percent, but in Africa mostly it’s around 60 percent.

“So we hope that our investment will unlock opportunities, help businesses grow, help people remain productive, change education by making it online, and link small businesses to markets globally.”

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BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE

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