Netflix in Africa: A Booster for Local Filmmakers and Audiences

How Netflix is Changing Africa’s Film Industry

Netflix, the popular streaming platform, has made a significant impact on Africa’s film industry since its launch on the continent in 2016. A recent report by the company shows that it has invested over $175 million in content and local creative ecosystems in South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria, generating millions of dollars towards GDP and household income, and creating thousands of jobs. But perhaps most significant is the platform’s impact on local content production and distribution.

Netflix Produces and Acquires Local Content

One of the key ways in which Netflix is impacting Africa’s film industry is through its production and acquisition of local content. The company has commissioned and licensed hundreds of titles in South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria, providing a platform for African filmmakers to showcase their talent to a global audience.

This has led to the rise of local productions such as:

  • “Blood and Water” and “How to Ruin Christmas” in South Africa
  • “Blood Sisters” and “Anikulapo” in Nigeria
  • “Queen Sono” and “Lionheart” in both countries

These productions have not only been popular within their home countries but have also gained international recognition, with some staying on the global weekly top 10 for several weeks.

For example, “Blood and Water” Season 2 from South Africa remained in the country’s weekly top 10 for 45 weeks and in 16 countries’ top 10 for 1 week. Meanwhile, “Blood and Water” Season 3 stayed in South Africa’s top 10 for 48 weeks and in 19 countries’ top 10 for 1 week. Similarly, “Blood Sisters” from Nigeria remained in the country’s top 10 for 29 weeks and in 11 countries’ top 10 for 1 week. Another Nigerian title, “Anikulapo,” stayed in the country’s top 10 for 37 weeks and in 24 countries’ top 10 for 3 weeks.

These statistics demonstrate the growing popularity of African-produced content and the global reach of Netflix’s platform. By providing a platform for local content creators, the streaming giant is contributing to the growth and development of Africa’s film industry.

Netflix Funds Economic Activity and Generates Tax Revenue

Another significant impact of Netflix in Africa is the funding of economic activity that generates tax revenue. According to the report, the company has funded economic activity that generated over $44 million of tax revenue in South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria combined. This is a significant contribution to the economies of these countries, as well as a testament to the growth potential of the African film industry.

Moreover, Netflix’s investment in local ecosystems has led to the creation of over 12,000 jobs in Africa’s creative industries. These jobs range from actors and producers to technicians and support staff, providing opportunities for African youth to pursue careers in the film industry and contribute to the growth of their respective economies.

Netflix Contributes to GDP

The impact of Netflix on Africa’s film industry has also been felt in terms of its contribution to GDP. The report states that the company has generated $218 million towards GDP in South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria combined. This is a significant contribution to the overall economic growth of these countries, as well as an indicator of the value of the African film industry.

Netflix Invests More in South Africa Than Nigeria

One area where Netflix’s impact has been felt more in South Africa than in Nigeria is in terms of investment. While the streaming giant commissioned and licensed more titles in Nigeria, it invested significantly more in South Africa. According to the report, Netflix invested $125 million in South Africa and $23.6 million in Nigeria. This translates to an average spend per title of $661,000 in South Africa and $83,000 in Nigeria.

This disparity between investment and title acquisition demonstrates the difference between value creation and value capture. While Nigeria produced more titles, South Africa captured more value in terms of USD investment. However , this is not to say that Nigeria’s film industry is not benefitting from Netflix’s presence. The report notes that Nigeria has the potential to become a major player in the global film industry, and Netflix’s investment in the country is contributing to this growth.

Netflix Provides Data Insights

Another way in which Netflix is impacting Africa’s film industry is through the provision of data insights. By analyzing viewing patterns and preferences, the company is able to determine which genres and types of content are most popular among African audiences. This information can be used by local content creators to tailor their productions to meet the needs of their audience, leading to more successful titles and potentially higher revenue.

Additionally, Netflix’s presence in Africa is contributing to the promotion of African culture and stories on a global scale. By showcasing local productions, the platform is giving African content creators a platform to tell their stories and share their experiences with the world. This is not only beneficial for the African film industry but also for promoting cultural diversity and understanding worldwide.

Netflix Faces Challenges and Opportunities

Despite its positive impact on Africa’s film industry, Netflix also faces some challenges and opportunities in its expansion on the continent. Some of these include:

  • Lack of infrastructure: Many African countries lack reliable internet access, electricity supply, or payment systems that can support online streaming services. This limits the potential market size and reach of Netflix on the continent.
  • Lack of government support: Many African governments do not provide adequate funding or incentives for local film production or distribution. This hinders the development of a vibrant film industry that can compete with foreign content.
  • Cultural diversity: Africa is a diverse continent with many languages, cultures, and preferences. This poses a challenge for Netflix to cater to different tastes and expectations across different regions and countries.
  • Competition: Netflix faces competition from other streaming platforms such as Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Showmax, iROKOtv, among others. These platforms also offer local or regional content that may appeal more to certain audiences than Netflix’s offerings.
  • Piracy: Piracy is a common problem in many African countries, where people can access illegal copies or downloads of movies or shows at cheaper prices or for free. This reduces the revenue and profitability of Netflix and other content providers.

To overcome these challenges and seize the opportunities, Netflix needs to adopt a strategic approach that considers the specific needs and preferences of the African market. Some of the strategies that Netflix can employ include:

  • Investing in infrastructure: Netflix can partner with local internet service providers, mobile operators, or payment platforms to improve the accessibility and affordability of its service. For example, Netflix has partnered with MTN in Nigeria to offer data bundles that include Netflix subscriptions.
  • Supporting local talent: Netflix can continue to invest in local content production and acquisition, as well as provide training and mentorship for local filmmakers and actors. This can help to nurture a pool of talent that can produce high-quality and diverse content for the platform.
  • Customizing content: Netflix can tailor its content to suit the preferences and expectations of different audiences across Africa. This can involve producing or acquiring content in different languages, genres, or formats, as well as providing subtitles or dubbing options.
  • Differentiating pricing: Netflix can offer different pricing plans or packages that suit the budget and needs of different customers. This can involve offering discounts, trials, or bundles, as well as varying the quality or quantity of content available.
  • Combating piracy: Netflix can work with local authorities, industry associations, or civil society groups to combat piracy and protect its intellectual property rights. This can involve raising awareness, enforcing laws, or providing incentives for legal consumption.


Netflix has made a significant impact on Africa’s film industry since its entry into the continent in 2016. From providing a platform for local content creators to promoting African culture and generating significant economic activity, the streaming giant has helped to fuel the growth and development of the industry. However, as with any major player in a developing market, there are both positive and negative impacts to be considered. It remains to be seen how the industry will continue to evolve with Netflix’s continued presence in the African market.


  • Q: How much is Netflix per month in Nigeria?
    • A: Netflix offers three plans in Nigeria: Basic (N1,200), Standard (N2,400), and Premium (N3,600). The Basic plan allows one screen at a time and standard definition quality. The Standard plan allows two screens at a time and high definition quality. The Premium plan allows four screens at a time and ultra high definition quality.
  • Q: How can I pay for Netflix in Nigeria?
    • A: You can pay for Netflix in Nigeria using a debit or credit card (Visa, Mastercard, or Verve), a PayPal account, or a Netflix gift card. You can also use mobile data bundles from MTN that include Netflix subscriptions.
  • Q: How can I watch Netflix for free in Nigeria?
    • A: You can watch Netflix for free in Nigeria by signing up for a free trial that lasts for one month. You will need to provide a payment method to start the trial, but you will not be charged until the trial ends. You can cancel the trial at any time before it ends.

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