Thursday, October 19, 2017

Netflix reveals the top 5 most watched shows on Netflix in South Africa; says it's open to do and take local South African stories to a global audience in the near future.

Netflix has revealed the most watched shows in South Africa and the type of programming that South African Netflix subscribers simply can't get enough of.

Netflix spoke to South Africa media and answered questions from the press at its first Netflix House SA media event in a lux high street Fresnaye mansion in Cape Town this week to showcase and preview it's existing and upcoming content and to hear from the press what they need.

Netflix's roundtable session with the press in South Africa sent a strong and clear signal to the media and the country's TV industry that Netflix  - with its big billboard at the OR Tambo airport in Johannesburg - has arrived in full force and means business in its push into Africa, starting from the continent's southern most nation.

Netflix for the first time revealed the shows that are most watched on Netflix in South Africa, with South African subscribers who are actually very informed and clued up as to what is available on Netflix and watching it.

Yenia Zaba, the Netflix manager for media relations for Europe and Africa, said South Africans love action programming that feature strongly in Netflix South Africa's top 5 list.

"It's a lot of action stuff - Mindhunter - it was just released. Narcos is very big here in South Africa; Star Trek: Discovery is very big here and the Marvel shows [Iron FistThe Defenders] are indeed very big here, as well as Designated Survivor and Shooter".

"Today, compared to a year and a half ago when we launched in South Africa, the Netflix catalogue of titles has tripled in size and we're literally adding shows on a daily basis".

Since Netflix launched, Netflix has been able to gather more and more viewing data and we've been observing certain behavioural data.

"We know that you're in South Africa for instance and we know what you watch. We don't know if you're male or female, your age - none of that."

"But we have observed certain things. The first thing that happens when we launched Netflix in a certain country was binge watching. It's a very basic one, but it couldn't happen before."

"Binge racing on the other hand is when you finish an entire season within the first 24 hours of launching that season."

"And obviously early adopters are the first ones to do that and we think that South Africa is eventually going to be way up there when it comes to binge racing. South Africans are absolutely crazy about Stranger Things."

Netflix open to SA productions in future
Netflix said it will very likely do content production deals in the future with South African producers.

"We have a pretty strong content team that is travelling to every country to talk to local producers. I do know that we're talking to South African producers."

"We want stories. It doesn't matter where they come from, we just want really good stories. Sometimes the stories are co-productions, sometimes they're in several languages."

"We're very lucky that we have 190 countries to put your local story all the way out there. If we produce something, it's never going to be meant just for that one country because it's not worth it for us. We want to tell global stories," says Yenia Zaba.

"Good stories can come from wherever," says Yann Lafargue, manager for technology and corporate communications at Netflix for the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.

"We're not designing a show for just a local audience. The Crown for instance - the BBC couldn't have done it. Just because the economics doesn't make sense. There's not enough Brits to watch that show."

"But when you have 1 in 9 million people which is about 3 million people - 3 million eyeballs are enough people. So you can make a certain show that will be compelling because there's 10 000 people in South Africa that like Dynasty, and another 15 000 in South Korea."

"So you get those clusters of audiences everywhere in the world, and together we get the scale to tell those stories."

"So we can do different television - in terms of format, in terms of story telling, in terms of everything. And we can give a global audience to local stories."

"People like to work with Netflix because we're not cheap and we also working with the best technology".

Since it launched in January 2016, Netflix is facing an ever-growing market segment of subscription pay-TV offerings, all vying for the rands in the wallets of South African consumers that go to discretionary spending on entertainment.

Besides traditional satellite pay-TV services like MultiChoice's DStv and China's StarSat, subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services like Naspers' Showmax, Amazon Prime Video, DEOD, and Kwesé Play have mushroomed and are all trying to entice South African consumers with their video content offerings.