Nairobi News

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You’ll soon be watching original African content on Netflix

The world’s leading internet entertainment service Netflix is planning to start acquiring original content from Africa.

This is according to a new Netflix job posting which indicates that the popular streaming service is looking to acquire more content from the Middle East, Turkey and Africa.

According to the posting, the director of content acquisition job (which is based in Amsterdam), will be tasked with developing and executing strategy for acquiring global rights to desirable TV and film programming, sourced from outside the major studios.

According to an analysis by Quartz, Netflix’s acquired content is likely to skew toward Anglophone programming because South Africa and Nigeria have the most sophisticated and largest industries, respectively.

The company has had some success in licensing African shows intermittently to date but this role will require “a deep knowledge of the production landscape—both the creators and the distributors and the ability to identify appealing series and films early in the life cycle.”

Netflix’s success across the world has been driven in part by its focus on building local content as well as licensing popular Hollywood fare for markets around the world.

LOCAL DRAMAS

The new role’s responsibilities signal a move toward deepening localized content including everything from local dramas stand-up comedy specials.

In Kenya, Netflix and Showmax are the most popular SVOD (streaming video on demand) options available. Netflix has a wide selection of movies, thousands of older TV shows, and, of course, a number of highly successful Netflix originals.

Although Showmax’s first original series are in production, they do not currently offer original shows or movies just yet.

Kenyan film makers have also started selling their work straight to the people. This Is Life, a Kenyan series produced by Jennifer Gatero is among the first local shows to be streamed. Speaking to Nairobi News, Ms Gatero said that it was the only way she could have her show watched and is the first independently produced TV series to be shot in Kenya.

“We got tired of TV stations telling us what they thought audience wanted to see. So we took it upon ourselves, funded it from personal savings to shoot a series,” she said.

Rafiki director, Wanuri Kahiu whose film was banned by Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) for its content, also said the reason why people are opting for online show is because they can watch what they want.

“I don’t think that it is even a choice, we are living in a time of VOD. That is why we have platforms like Netflix and other new platforms that are coming up, where people are actually able to create their own channels and watch what they want. That is the direction we are moving towards,” she said.