What to watch in 2022: Media – Get that Netflix money!

'Tofe Ayeni
By 'Tofe Ayeni

Posted on Thursday, 20 January 2022 15:47

US streaming giant Netflix is getting serious about the potential of the African media market. And big global media players like Universal Music Group are also following suit. Dorothy Ghettuba, head of the Africa Originals Series for Netflix, told CNN in 2020 that there is a huge demand for “made in Africa” content.

In line with this, Netflix started with the South African original crime series Queen Sono in February 2020, and Blood & Water in May 2020. The platform’s first original Nigerian series, King of Boys: The Return of The King (which grew out of the Kemi Adetiba feature film King of Boys) came out in August 2021. Nigerian content is doing well for Netflix, with Amina the first film from the country to hit the Netflix global top 10.

Netflix also partnered with renowned Nigerian media mogul Mo Abudu in a deal that consists of two series and several Netflix-branded films: Oloture launched on the site in October 2020, and director Biyi Bandele started shooting the film adaptation of Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman in October 2021.

While Netflix is pumping money into Africa’s media industries, some say the continent is not being treated fairly. Nigerian film critic Wilfred Okiche says Africans need to be wary of the international streaming platform. He says, for example, that Netflix pays just $10,000-$90,000 for African productions – a minuscule amount compared to the $500m promised for creators in countries such as South Korea and Britain.

On the other hand, it is investing in training on the continent, targeting, for example, screenwriters from Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. In cooperation with UNESCO, Netflix is working on a series of short films based on African folk tales that will be shown in 2022.

Netflix is going after African consumers too. On 21 September, it announced free plans in Kenya to introduce people to the service.

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