Video-on-demand service Netflix plans to buy original African film productions from 2019, to both expand its platform content and to widen viewer options in response to an increasingly diverse global audience.
Erik Barmack – Netflix’s vice president of international originals – confirmed that the popular streaming service was looking at exploring its budding African market and commissioning projects from the content. This he said while at the Content London Conference.
The internet entertainment service is eyeing the lucrative Anglophone markets of South Africa and Nigeria. However, it will be contesting this market with DSTV, who through their satellite television service are producing original content, and purchasing from independent film makers with a strong background in original sports entertainment.
Netflix does not publicly reveal the number of subscribers in specific countries, but competitors fear its year-on-year growing market share. An internet traffic report states that 15% of downstream traffic is attributed to Netflix.
The streaming service is already working in collaboration with mobile network providers in Africa – for example in Ghana and Zimbabwe - as telecoms cash in on data used by subscribers to stream content, while Netflix gets its monthly income from subscriptions.
Film makers in Africa are hoping to benefit from this opportunity to gain funding to produce quality series and showcase their work to larger audiences. There are already African productions on the Netflix platform, mostly films made in Nigeria and South Africa.