Streaming giant, Netflix, has announced its plan to expand its operations in Africa, after its success with hit shows like the South African drama, “Blood and Water.” Since starting work on the continent in 2016, Netflix has spent $175 million in film production. The firm has earmarked $63 million for South Africa alone in 2022-23 but has not disclosed any other details on the scale of its African plans.
Netflix’s operations in sub-Saharan Africa have primarily focused on South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria, creating more than 12,000 jobs, according to the company. The firm plans to expand its business to more countries on the continent. South Africa has contributed more than 170 movies, series, and documentaries to the streaming service, and its drama series “Blood and Water” received international praise in 2020, becoming the first South African show to reach No. 1 in the United States.
“We intend to build on these milestones to grow our business — even as we continue to invest to bolster local creative economies and give more and more African storytellers an amplified voice on the global stage.”Netflix
Netflix has been diversifying its production outside the US in recent years, achieving significant success with series including the Spanish smash “Money Heist” and the South Korean dystopian drama “Squid Game.” In 2021, the firm partnered with the United Nations cultural agency, UNESCO, to finance six short movies from young African directors, amplifying the voices of African storytellers on the global stage.
Ultimately, the move by Netflix to expand its African operations is seen as a significant boost for the continent’s creative industry, with filmmakers expressing optimism about the opportunities it will create. “It’s honestly about time (that) worthy platforms realize the richness and value in our stories,” said South African filmmaker Gcobisa Yako, who was one of the six recipients of Netflix’s partnership with UNESCO.