Netflix, the world’s biggest streaming service boasting about 117.6 million subscribers worldwide officially announces its presence in Africa’s biggest film industry — Nollywood — with the launch of Netflix Naija on Tuesday.
Twenty-Four hours after the launch of Netflix Naija Twitter —announcing its presence in Nigeria with a picture that featured some of the A-Listers in the Nigerian film industry — the account already has well over 12,000 followers. Showing Nigerians support over the news.
The move is really no surprise, over the last year, Netflix slowly began to make its presence known in Nigeria, after acquiring the worldwide rights for Genevieve Nnaji’s Lionheart. This was just the beginning.
Since then, the service has acquired several Nollywood movies and series, popular movies such as Merry Men (The Real Yoruba Demons), The Wedding Party 2, King of Boys; Chief Daddy, Lion Heart, The Bling Lagosians and Nollywood classics like The CEO, October 1 and The Figurine; and films by renowned Nigerian director, Kunle Afolayan, such as Mokalik are now available on Netflix.
“Movies like King of Boys, Merry Men and The Bling Lagosians have shown how much our members love Nigerian movies. So, we’re incredibly excited to be investing in Made in Nigeria stories – bringing them to audiences all around the world.”Ted Sarandos, Netflix’s Chief Content Officer, in a statement made available to PREMIUM TIMES said Netflix plans to increase its investment in Nigerian storytelling.
Commenting on Netflix’s interest in original content from Nollywood, FilmOne co-founder Moses Babatope said, “The global appetite for Nigerian content is growing.”
Not much as been said about what’s next for Netflix Naija, everything has been kept under the wraps. According to Business Insider, Netflix is currently developing two unnamed original series from Nigeria as well. Details about one of the series were shared at an event following the launch on Monday, according to Business Insider.
One of the shows will be a six-part series “set in modern-day Nigeria and shot in Lagos.” It’ll be overseen by Nigerian filmmaker Akin Omotosho.
What We Know About The Akin Omotosho Project.
- Set in modern-day Nigeria and shot in Lagos, It’s a drama that tells the story of Kemi, a goddess reincarnated as a human to avenge her sister’s death.
- The series was inspired by a moment from Omotosho’s childhood. “As a child growing up in Ile-Ife, a teacher walked into the classroom and said, ‘let me tell you about the gods,‘” he revealed to Pulse NG.
- Omotosho will be co-directing with C. J. Obasi and Daniel Oriahi. It will be co-produced by Kemi Lala-Akindoju. The script will be co-written by Omotosho, Steve, Posha, and Dami Elebe.
- The series will star Kate Henshaw and Ade Laoye in lead roles. Other castmates include Ireti Doyle, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Joke Silva, Bimbo Akintola, and Kehinde Bankole.
According to Weetracker, Data from Digital TV Research in London estimate that there are fewer than 1.5 million Netflix subscribers in sub-Saharan Africa, of which most are from South Africa. Netflix has plans to grow its subscriber base in Africa to 5 million by 2025 and the company seems to have identified locally-sourced content as one way to go about it.
Last month, Netflix enabled Nigerian subscribers to pay for its service in Naira.
“Our continent has a wealth of diversity, multiplicity and beauty in stories that have yet to be told and we want to be top of mind for creators in Nigeria, especially when it comes to stories they haven’t had a chance to tell yet.”Commenting on Netflix’s growing interest in the Nigerian film industry, Dorothy Ghettuba, Netflix’s African Originals head said.