MultiChoice And Startimes Worried About Netflix Entry Into Nigeria

Pay-TV companies, StarTimes and MultiChoice, are concerned about the threat that the Nigerian TV scene might be under with the involvement of global streaming service, Netflix.

Affected by Netflix’s rapidly growing popularity among African viewers, MultiChoice -Africa’s largest pay-TV operator, wants the streaming platform to be regulated.

In a report provided by Quartz Africa, Calvo Mawela, the Chief Executive Officer of MultiChoice blamed Netflix for the loss suffered by MultiChoice in the financial year of 2017.
In a 2018 interview, Mawela declared that over 140,000 subscribers were lost to Netflix and called for the regulation of Netflix and other over-the-top services.
Quartz Africa also reports that Mawela told the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa that over-the-top service providers like Netflix were at an advantage because they did not have to contend with the affirmative action regulations that MultiChoice has to adhere to.

Netflix will be focusing on the shores of Africa in 2019 and Nigeria is on its list.
Erick Barmack, Netflix's Vice President of International Originals, announced that the company's Europe team is looking at opportunities in Africa and will be commissioning African series in 2019.

While StarTimes and MultiChoice are battling with iROKO, the largest streaming platform for original Nigerian content, Netflix’s involvement might spearhead a new level of competition in 2019.

However, in a recent interview with Business Insider SSA, Netflix said that even though the company is paying close attention to Nollywood and focusing more on content, there are no current plans to open a physical office in Nigeria.
Industry insiders speculate that Netflix probably wants to avoid the difficulties faced by iROKO when it moved its headquarters to Lagos from Manhattan.

While expensive data plans and poor internet connections have affected MultiChoice and iROKO streaming operations, Netflix is proactively looking for ways to help fix the issue and secure a better connection for its Nigerian subscribers.
Currently, Netflix has installed a dedicated server in Nigeria in collaboration with Spectranet.
The server will house the complete Netflix content library and will also provide subscribers in Nigeria with the best possible video streaming performance.

After commissioning the Nigerian Genevieve Nnaji's 'Lionheart' in 2018 and buying the rights of a number of other Nigerian films, it is clear that Netflix means business and is geared up to compete in the Nigerian market.

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