Netflix South Africa recently announced that it would be charging its local subscribers in the local currency as part of a continued focus on the country.
Speaking to BusinessTech, head of corporate communications for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) Yann Lafargue said that this change from dollars to rands was a natural progression as the company becomes more active in the country, with the local price matching the current dollar price.
Speaking on how the group’s local focus will lead to new developments in South Africa, Lafargue said that because Netflix is a global company, it doesn’t currently develop shows specifically for the local market.
“Local subscribers benefit from the same great product with no ads, a free trial, downloads and best picture and image quality,” he said.
He added that the service’s catalogue has tripled since it launched in January 2016, and it plans to launch 1,000 hours of Netflix Original content this year (400 titles) and over 650 next year – making it the biggest studio in the world.
“South African streamers love action-packed content with titles such as Narcos, Stranger Things and the recently launched, Mindhunter,” he said. “Star Trek and Designated Survivor are also big (available in Netflix SA but not in the US), while the Trevor Noah special is also a hit.”
Netflix’s future success in South Africa could also be heavily influenced with in-country partnerships, with Telkom recently announcing that it would be zero-rating the service as part of its LIT streaming packages.
“Something that we are working on is to secure more local partners to make our service more accessible to South Africans,” said Lafargue. “Our first move was to partner with Econet and be available in their Kwese Play streaming box. We hope to have more of those with local ISPs and mobile carriers in the future.”
“We see zero rating offers popping up in the US (T-Mobile) and in Europe (Deutshe Telekom, Vodafone etc) and we think that they could expand to Africa when their business is ready. That would obviously be something good for the region as I am well aware of the high price of the data.”
According to Lafargue, these types of partnerships will also help to spread streaming as a channel in the country.