Our people have a saying, when two elephants fight, the grass suffers. This is indisputable. Six tons of hard muscle and bones will do a cruel number on any lawn, no matter how stubborn the grass is—it just has to bow down to the ancestors.
But what happens when the elephants in question are not two, but three of the biggest Subscription Video-On-Demand (SVOD) platforms in Africa!
What’s the big news?
Well, the grass just got greener on the Netflix side of town.
Nextflix just announced a mobile-only subscription starting at $3.99— that’s more than half the price of its basic subscription plan.
Somebody play Dorime.
The new plan caters for the majority of its African audience who stream Netflix from their mobile. And is currently available to users in Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa and other SubSaharan countries.
That’s not all.
Netflix also launched a Play Partial Download feature that allows users to play Netflix videos which haven’t downloaded completely.
This means that if your connection cuts off while you’re downloading an episode of Blood and Water, you can still watch the fraction that actually entered your device, and resume your download when you get a stronger connection.
Are you excited? Because we are!
But this news isn’t exactly unexpected, given the fact that Netflix’s been in a streaming battle with two other African SVOD elephants, iRokoTV and Showmax.
In fact, with each party trying to outdo the other with more customer-friendly updates, it was actually pretty predictable, and we’ll show you why.
Netflix’s streaming tusslein Africa
When Netflix arrived in Africa in 2016, everyone anticipated a struggle with reigning SVOD champion, iRokoTV, even though Netflix offered mostly foreign movies and while iRokoTV focused on Nollywood.
As expected Netflix proved its mettle by edging into the African movies market too with blockbuster movies like October 1, Lion Heart, The boy who harnessed the wind, Azali, amongst others.
With Netflix pushing on one end, and a decline in the spending income of its primary market, Nigerians, iRokoTV faced its abroad audience—who can blame them, really?
And just when Netflix thought it was its turn to hog the spotlight, boom!
bull elephant in the ring
Its name? Showmax. A MultiChoice platform, which gained increasing popularity during Season 5 of the Big Brother Naija show.
But we didn’t know Showmax had another ace in its pocket besides BBN.
In April, Showmax announced that it would offer a new and affordable mobile plan price—20% less than the original plan price—to accommodate its users who might be having it rough after the pandemic.
“We know that consumers are under pressure at the moment and we believe this change will be appreciated by our mobile customers as will the decision not to increase any of our other prices”, said Yolisa Phahle, MultiChoice Group CEO for Connected Video.
Netflix in the mud.
But not for long…
Obviously, with the release of this cheaper plan, Netflix may come out on top in this SVOD race to corner the African market.
However, all eyes are on iRokoTV now. Maybe they’d get an acute case of FOMO and surprise us. Fingers crossed!