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Netflix may end 2021 with 2.61 million streaming subscribers in Africa and more than double that to 5.84 million by 2026, business intelligence company Digital TV Research projected on Thursday.
That would make the global streamer the leader in the space on the African continent. Digital TV Research forecast that subscription video-on-demand users in Africa would, by 2026, number 15.06 million, triple the 5.11 million expected at the end of 2021.
“From the 10 million additions, South Africa and Nigeria will each supply 2.3 million,” the firm said. “These two will be the only countries with more than 1 million subscriptions.”
Netflix’s market share will fall from 51 percent at the end of this year to 39 percent by 2026. Disney+ will launch in the region in 2022, “but only in an expected 12 countries, with 2.17 million paying subscribers forecast by 2026,” the company said. That will make the Disney streamer the No. 2 in the region in 2026, the research firm projects.
“The selective launch plans from some global platforms works in favor of regional players, such as Showmax and MyCanal,” argued Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research.
Showmax, owned by South African pay TV giant MultiChoice, is currently ranked second with an estimated 861,000 subscribers at the end of 2021. And the company predicts it will reach 2.12 million in five years.
Meanwhile, Digital TV Research predicts Amazon will grow from 575,000 subscribers this year to nearly 1.93 million in 2026; and Apple TV+ is projected to climb from 121,000 to 304,000 subscribers.
Showmax in late August launched its eighth original in eight months, Temptation Island South Africa. And it unveiled “a diverse slate of eight more series, and three more movies,” including Showmax’s first telenovela, romantic comedy and scripted West African original.
“Despite strong international competition, our three most popular shows on Showmax in the first half of 2021 were all local,” said Candice Fangueiro, Showmax’s head of content. “So we’re delighted to introduce our next wave of Showmax originals, a mix of returning favorites and groundbreaking firsts, from some of Africa’s most talented filmmakers.” Among them are fantasy epic Blood Psalms, telenovela The Wife, rom-com Troukoors, docuseries Seks in Afrikaans and family thriller Desert Rose.
Netflix has aimed to keep growing its subscriber base in Africa. Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger highlighted in a report this summer: “Netflix continues to expand its lower-priced, single-stream mobile-only plan, this quarter launching that option in several African countries, two of which we monitor in our price tracker: Kenya and South Africa.”
The global streamer started rolling out original content from Africa in 2020. Among its agreements with key talent, it signed one with Nigerian producer Mo Abudua and struck a development deal with John Boyega’s U.K.-based UpperRoom Productions with a focus on non-English language films from West and East Africa.
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