Global entertainment streaming service Netflix has pledged over R900 million at the 4th Annual South African Investment Conference as a contribution to the South African creative industry.
The commitment will cover four productions – one international and three local – which will be filmed in South Africa over 2022 and 2023, Netflix said.
Shola Sanni, Netflix’s director of public policy in Sub-Saharan Africa said that Netflix is committed to South Africa for the long term and is investing in talent both in front and behind the camera.
Netflix said it has invested over R2 billion in South African productions over the last five years, resulting in 1,900 jobs being created in the process. In December 2020, more than 80 South African films and television series were available on Netflix.
The company aims to create productions alongside local South African production studios such as Film Afrika, Gambit Film, Quizzical Pictures and Burnt Onion in an attempt to boost the South African film and TV industry.
“South Africa is fast becoming a top global location for Netflix production, with the country viewed as a go-to location with a robust and talented film industry,” the group said.
One of the major titles that are being produced with Film Afrika in partnership with Project Panda is the international title of One Piece, a live-action series adaptation of a world-renowned manga and anime.
President Cyril Ramaphosa and the Minister of Trade Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel have visited the studio in Cape Town.
The production of One Piece is currently Netflix’s biggest production in Africa to date and is aiming to create opportunities for over 1,000 full-crew members as well as mentorship programmes for 30 young creatives and technicians in collaboration with the South African Film Academy.
“Local productions put the focus on South African stories, and also serve to showcase the country’s rich social and cultural heritage as well as other tourism assets to a global audience,” said Netflix.
A study from both South African Tourism and Netflix revealed that after watching South African content, viewers surveyed in Canada, France, UK, Brazil, US and Germany were 3.1 times more likely to travel to South Africa.
The company estimated that for every local view of a South African title, there were 26 views by households outside of the country.
“With such investments in the pipeline, we are keen to see the government of South Africa continue to maintain the favourable investment environment that has allowed for such investments thus far – including initiatives such as the Foreign Film & Production incentive scheme that DTIC has operated, which is in part responsible for putting South Africa at the front of the line as an attractive investment destination for production companies,” said Sanni.
“It would be great for our long-term investment plans to see even more transparency and predictability in that area because the presence of a reliable investment scheme is crucial for our financial decisions.”