African markets

Netflix eyes telecom tie-ups in tough African markets

NAIROBI (Reuters) – Netflix Inc is streaming more content made in Africa and working with telecom operators to make it easier for potential subscribers to pay, a senior executive told Reuters on Tuesday ahead of its third-quarter results.

The online content streaming giant, which has 193 million subscribers globally, is keen to expand in Africa and is looking for ways to overcome challenges including slow and expensive internet and lack of proper payment infrastructure on the continent of the 55 countries.

“Given the low credit card penetration on the continent…we have partnered with local telecom operators…so their customers can add Netflix subscriptions to their bills,” said Dorothy Ghettuba, Head of Original Programming of Netflix for Africa.

She said they already have partnerships with Vodacom and Telkom South Africa, adding that Netflix is ​​looking for new ties.

Expensive high-speed internet in some countries is also a major challenge, Ghettuba said, adding that Netflix tries to solve this problem by enabling Wi-Fi downloads for later viewing rather than using expensive mobile data for streaming. .

Netflix, well established in South Africa and Nigeria, is now turning its attention to the Kenyan market, Ghettuba said.

The pay-TV market in Africa is dominated by the South African group Multichoice, which has a head start on Netflix thanks to its dozens of channels dedicated to news and live sporting events.

The South African group, in addition to its entertainment channels broadcasting films, series and documentaries, has also launched the online streaming service Showmax to compete directly with Netflix.

To improve its attractiveness on the market, Netflix has expanded its library with African productions. [nL8N2H637P]

“The company is excited about Africa and is putting all of its effort into it,” said Ghettuba, who joined Netflix last year after a decade at the helm of a Kenyan production house.

Ghettuba declined to specify the value of Netflix’s investments in Africa, but the company has struck a series of content licensing deals with African producers in markets including Senegal, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Angola and Mozambique.

Editing by Katharine Houreld and David Goodman