The new frontier for the major streaming companies is Africa. Their subscriber base in developing countries is growing rapidly, and Netflix wants to capitalise on the growth with more African content. Netflix is partnering with John Boyega of Star Wars fame and his production company called UpperRoom Productions.
The production company will be responsible for creating non-English language films focused on West and East Africa. We have no news about potential Southern Africa content at this time. The films will be based on “stories, cast, characters, crew, literary properties, mythology, screenplays and/or other elements in or around African countries.”
Back in 2018 Netflix made it very clear that they intend to have the most locally based, produced and featured content from Africa. In February 2020 they released Queen Sono, with some proudly South African stars headlining the show.
An expensive series set in Nigeria is also in production (announced last month). We can expect two more South African series in this year. One is a teen drama called Blood & Water, and the other is an animated series called Mama K’s Team 4.
“Africa has a rich history in storytelling, and for Netflix, this partnership with John and UpperRoom presents an opportunity to further our investment in the continent while bringing unique African stories to our members both in Africa and around the world,” said David Kosse, vice president of international film at Netflix.
While the subscriber numbers in Africa are still low, the rapid growth means it will become a very important market for Netflix and others in years to come. Their expansion in saturated markets have slowed down significantly, and Africa and Latin America are important markets to penetrate if they are going to keep growing in the years to come.