Telling empowering stories, South Africans want to hear

Wednesday, 12 April 2023 21:01

Netflix plans Africa expansion after SA's hit series.

Tech Reporter.

Netflix said on Wednesday it planned to expand operations in Africa, building on the success of hit shows like the South African drama "Blood and Water."

The online video streaming giant said it had spent $175 million in film production in Africa since starting work on the continent in 2016.

"Expanding our business here is good for Netflix," the firm said in a report.

It gave no details on the scale of its African plans but said that $63 million had been earmarked for South Africa alone in 2022-23.

Netflix's operations in sub-Saharan Africa have so far focused on South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria, creating more than 12,000 jobs, according to company.

"This is the start, we plan to reach more countries on the continent," Netflix's sub-Saharan Africa policy director, Shola Sanni, told a press conference in Johannesburg.

South Africa is the continent's largest contributor to the site, adding more than 170 movies, series and documentaries to the streaming service.

In 2020, "Blood and Water" received international praise, 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," the firm said.

Netflix has bet on diversifying its production outside the US in recent years, scoring big with series including Spanish smash "Money Heist" and South Korean dystopian drama "Squid Game."

In 2021 the company partnered with the United Nations cultural agency, UNESCO, to finance six short movies from young African directors.

"It's honestly about time (that) worthy platforms realise the richness and value in our stories," one of the six recipients, South African filmmaker Gcobisa Yako, told AFP.