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Netflix launches mobile-only subscription in Nigeria

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Netflix is trying to increase its presence on the continent. The hurdles to that expansion have been the price of the packages as well as the availability of broadband. These factors have kept the service limited only to those who can afford the packages and have access to the internet. In light of this Netflix is trying out a different approach by introducing mobile-only plans. This approach started off in South Africa earlier this month and it looks like Nigeria is the next country on Netflix’s radar.

Nigeria is the continent’s largest economy as well as having the largest TV and film industry in Sub Saharan Africa. The West African nation also has seen a rapid increase in 4G coverage and services. All of these factors make the country a prime target for Netflix to introduce a mobile-only package.

Price and competition

Netflix has priced the mobile-only package at N1 200 (US$2.65) which is far below the N2 900 the company charges for its basic package. That figure, however, is far above the N250 per month that Iroko TV is charging per month. Iroko TV is a local streaming service that has the largest catalogue of Nollywood content.

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Iroko TV has, however, (according to a report by Nairametrics) scaled back it’s African operations. This is because the low-price plans haven’t been enough to cover operational costs and the company is now targeting wealthier viewers in the diaspora.

Another spectre that looms over Netflix in Nigeria (and Africa) is, of course, DStv. Multichoice’s DStv has a far more substantial subscriber base on the continent. DStv also has its own streaming service, Showmax which is also has a mobile platform. The standard Showmax mobile package is slightly more expensive than Netflix mobile at N1 450 (US$3.77) but I think in terms of familiarity Showmax might just have an edge. On the other hand, there are some who might want to try something different and Netflix has a wide variety of content both new and old.

It will be intriguing to see if Netflix’s mobile-only package work in Nigeria, as well as in South Africa. The success of the programs could mean that Netflix may expand them to more African countries.


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Valentine Muhamba

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