Remember how there was a bit of a stir earlier this year when Netflix hinted on its entry into the African market? This was caused by Netflix sharing its strategy for a global footprint by the end of 2016, with Africa also considered in that discussion.
It wasn’t so much about the awesomeness of Netflix (though they do have a great product and some killer shows, some of which they produce themselves) but about the potential disruption of the neighbourhood
bully giant, MultiChoice.
Now, it seems like the guys behind MultiChoice, Naspers, are preparing for the arrival of Netflix with a new service. An article in My Broadband has cited sources that have said that an event being organised by Naspers and pencilled for the 19th of August is the launch of a subscription video on demand (SVOD) service that Naspers has been working on for a while.
It’s been alleged that Naspers wants to one up Netflix through a quick roll out in specific economies and regions. This is being substantiated by Naspers’ acquisition of a stake Icflix through MultiChoice which was executed in April this year. Icflix is a VOD service from the UAE that has a presence in the UAE, Egypt, Morocco, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.
While this bit of news, or the launch of Naspers’ own Netflix project won’t excite the market as much as Netflix entering African territory, it does say something about the perception the media juggernaut has of competition from local VOD services and the potential of VOD Services.
It’s easy to see how the enjoyment of advantages of economies of scale might have made the content delivery space less challenging for any Naspers’ divisions like MultiChoice against smaller VOD startups. But a move from a larger operator has created the need to act. Naspers is also looking at maintaining its hold on African content delivery even on future platforms.
Sure, VOD startups might not have been a huge headache, but a Netflix sized operator means a well-funded player that has a strong content strategy which now includes production, and has already caused disruptions in its traditional North American market all the while ushering in a new culture of content consumption.
If Naspers plays after Netflix, an operator that has a better feel for VOD services and offers a fresh perspective, Naspers might start down a slow path of losing dominance in its own playground.