Cell C’s entertainment platform Black, says the hype around Netflix in South Africa is exaggerated.
Black is one of a number of streaming entertainment offerings that compete against Netflix, including Showmax and DStv.
While Netflix does not break down its international subscriber numbers by country, MultiChoice recently provided its estimate in an interview with MyBroadband.
MultiChoice, which operates DStv, believes that Netflix has grown to between 300,000 and 400,000 subscribers in South Africa since it launched in January 2016.
“That’s a significant number in two and a half years,” MultiChoice South Africa CEO Calvo Mawela told MyBroadband.
While it declined to comment on MultiChoice’s estimates, Netflix said it is happy with its performance in South Africa.
While Black said it acknowledges Netflix as a competitor, it “does not see it preventing media companies from thriving locally”.
Chief executive of Black, Surie Ramasary said that Cell C’s offering ‘is experiencing good growth despite the presence of competitors like Netflix, Showmax and DStv in the local market’.
“Netflix has built up a global brand by offering customers movies that are no longer in the rental pay window. This means content on our platform will actually have movies before they are on Netflix,” she said.
Ramasary also sees local content as being a differentiating factor. “They do not offer local content in every market, including South Africa. This is where we will have a competitive edge. In addition we will also start to build a library of our own originals over time.”
This could actually lead to job creation and not losses, the executive said. Cell C said it believes as more content players enter the market, customers will have increasing choice and will subscribe to more than one service.
“Much will depend on how well you treat your customer and look after their needs. Customer service will be a key differentiator as well. Media companies who are poor at this will see a decline in their subscribers,” Ramasary said.