Netflix was launched in Kenya in 2016 as part of the global expansion the streaming giant did in that year. It was their big switch from being present in a few countries and enabled Kenyans to enjoy content easily on their site
Netflix has become a huge brand to the point where it comes up when someone is talking about streaming. They advertise a lot on sites like YouTube and people talk about Netflix shows a lot, so it is not that difficult to find content about Netflix being a source of discourse among Kenyans.
According to Statista, the estimated number of active streaming subscribers to Netflix in Kenya has risen from around 3600 in 2017 to over 29,500 in 2020. That’s a 700% increase in 3 years and it shows the explosive growth of the use of the streaming site in Kenya.
As you can see from the graph, the estimated number of subscribers to Netflix in the country has been doubling every year since 2016. We can attribute this to the increased fixed broadband connections in the country, which is estimated at around 500,000 connections as per the latest statistics.
In comparison, Statista estimates that there are 338,000 Netflix subscribers in South Africa in 2020, which is over 10 times the estimated number in Kenya. However, the rate of growth in South Africa is not as steep as in Kenya. During the same period, the number of active streaming subscribers in South Africa has ‘only’ grown by 275% compared to Kenya’s 700%.
The estimated numbers claim that these are “active subscribers” and we don’t know whether this is the total number or they only consider people with accounts. The potential audience on Netflix in Kenya would be bigger if the 29,510 figure is only for people who own accounts. Netflix’s profile features allows you to add an extra 4 people to use their account so the potential audience could be larger.
The ballooning use of Netflix should worry Pay-TV users who are still dominant in the market. It is estimated that there are 1.4 million pay TV households in Kenya in 2018 which is expected to rise in 2023. However, thanks to the younger generation adopting Netflix and the continued installation of fixed data on many households means that the use of services like Netflix will grow tremendously year on year.