American Technology and Media service giant, Netflix Inc is set to introduce cheaper, mobile-only subscription in Nigeria and the rest of Africa in a bid to strengthen its presence in the country and the region as a whole. The move appears to be targeting Showmaxx’s dominance in the continent.
In addition to this, the streaming service will show more locally produced contents that depict the cultures and experiences of ordinary Africans.
Netflix Inc. is the world’s largest subscription-streaming service with popular content that’s cheaper than the competition. However, the company is still struggle to make its presence known like other region in Africa 5 years of introduction in the continent. This is due to the continent’s fight against by poverty, piracy and limited access to broadband.
With the rapid expansion of 4G mobile networks, the streaming service is given a new channel to get to audiences especially in a country like Nigeria, sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest economy and the heart of its TV industry.
Netflix plans to expand the mobile-only contracts permanently if the trials, which began in South Africa and Egypt, becomes a success. It agreed to deals with South African wireless carriers to add subscriptions to people’s phone bills and offers pre-paid vouchers for those without bank accounts. This is similar to the services that have been adopted by Showmaxx, MultiChoice’s streaming service.
Netflix is offering subscribers N1,200 ($2.65) a month for its mobile-only service, well below the N2,900 it’s been charging for its most basic account. However, the offer is still more expensive than the N250 per month charged by Iroko TV, a streaming platform that has the largest online catalogue of Nigerian Nollywood content giving access to over 5,000 of such movies.
But the income from Iroko’s low-price plans hasn’t been enough to cover its costs and the company is now scaling back its African operation to focus on wealthier viewers in the diaspora.
Netflix’s has moved to avoid the low production values found in a lot of Nollywood output and channel the continent’s best talent to develop slickly-made shows across every genre just like its deal with well-funded producers like Nigeria’s EbonyLife TV.
According to RBC Capital Markets analyst, Mark Mahaney, it expects to massively increase its subscribers to 500 million customers by 2030, up from 193 million as at the end of June.