The streaming wars have taken platforms like Netflix, Amazon, Apple, and Disney+ all over the globe. But never to Africa.
Now, a recent surge in deals between production companies, studios, and streamers in Africa has changed those tides. It turns out ignoring content with a growing market share was not a great business strategy.
Nigerian TV pioneer Mo Abudu spoke to the Hollywood Reporter about this recently.
“I’ve been in this industry for 20 years, and it’s only now that we’re seeing this real explosion, a real tipping point, for African content," Abudu said. "The reality of the marketplace has changed."
Credit: Digital TV Research / The Hollywood Reporter
Hollywood is now making a dedicated push in Africa, with Overbrook, Will Packer, Marvel, and other producers/studios attempting to create content to attract viewers and get a foothold in a new continent. They're signing licensing deals with producers there to acquire and make content.
This is part of a course correction that many streamers are undergoing. Mostly to make up for stereotypes and portrayals of the continent in the past.
Also, places like Nollywood are making thousands of movies a year, so acquiring those titles and making them available on streamers is also a popular option.
“In the past, African stories have been told by outsiders,” Ben Amadasun, director of content in Africa for Netflix, said. He continued talking about how using local producers, writers, directors, and actors would help streamers, saying, “We want to help local talent bring their stories to the world.”
Of course, there's a lot of money at stake here as well. Netflix is represented in 50% of American households. In Africa, it's like 1%. So there's lots of room to get new audiences. The main way in is to actually make things starring and made by Africans. Also, they have to understand that Africa is an enormous continent, so you can't make things for all of Africa, you have to be specific. To many of these streamers' credit, they seem like they understand this.
Netflix, Amazon, and Disney+ all have material coming in from all over the continent with plans to debut in the coming years and build a real catalog.
We'll see how and when it pays off.
Let us know your thoughts. We would love to hear from people in Africa trying to pitch and sell to these places about the process as well as whom they consider to be the best providers of content for their region. Sound off in the comments.