Netflix is the world’s largest paid video streaming service. The platform has a sizeable subscriber base in Africa. South Africa takes the lion’s share with 73.3%. Other African nations make a less significant impact on Netflix’s regional revenue. Nigeria and Kenya are next with 10.5% and 3.9% of the total subscribers in the region, respectively. Additionally, Angola and Ethiopia contribute 1.4% and 1.3% to the California-based company user base.
The platform provides a wide array of content, including a rich collection of African TV shows that have gained popularity among viewers. Some noteworthy examples are Queen Sono, Blood & Water, King of Boys, Jiva and I Am Laycon.
Netflix Losing to Showmax
As of 2021, Netflix boasted an estimated 2.6 million subscribers in Africa. Projections indicated that this number was set to double by 2026, reaching an impressive 5.8 million subscribers. However, Netflix has recently lost its share of the African market. This drop is probably what advised the streaming platform to reduce its prices in March this year. Currently, Showmax leads in the continent with a 40% share of the market. Netflix market share has dropped from 40% to 35%.
Research firm Omdia reports that a factor impeding the growth of Netflix’s subscriber base is the limited prevalence of credit and debit cards in numerous regions. This has notably impacted the payment methods available to Africans subscribing to the streaming platform.
Mobile Money Payment Integration
Even more puzzling, is the platform failing to integrate mobile money payment options in Africa. For example, there is a lack of proper mobile money integration in Kenya, a country with 38.6 million mobile money subscribers. In the rest of Sub-Saharan Africa, there are now 763 million registered mobile money accounts. This makes up almost half the global total. Yet, the platform has stuck to card payment options.
Mobile money platform lack standing order features. This could be what has deterred Netflix as its a subscription service depending on recurring monthly payments. Safaricom’s M-Pesa became the first platform to introduce standing order feature for customers. This could be the begin of a new trend for other operators in Africa.
More worrisome for the company is the ongoing changes at Showmax. Currently, Showmax’s biggest draw lies in its solidly crafted third-party films, especially those from HBO and Universal Pictures like Oppenheimer, White House Plumbers, House of the Dragon, Money Moster, The Handmaid’s Tale, and The Sopranos.
Recently, Showmax has promised to produce more original high-quality content. This will come as a result of new partnerships with Comcast’s NBCUniversal and Sky. Further, Showmax users are set to have access to Peacock, an NBCUniversal streaming service.