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Streaming giants descend on Kenya in new battle for viewers

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By Judith Gicobi

Global streaming behemoths are bolstering their presence in Kenya, which is developing as a key market in the region for attracting new subscribers to the omnipresent platforms.

The drive to gain more market share comes amid when traditional market strongholds such as North America and Europe are seeing a slowdown in growth for streaming services such as Netflix.

Netflix has invested millions of shillings in the area market in recent months as it looks to find fresh local talent and projects to add to its library of original local content.

Netflix inked a two-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Kenya’s ICT Ministry earlier this month to fund training opportunities for new filmmakers, buy local content from Kenyan producers, and promote marketing and consumer safety for digital content creators and viewers.

“We are cognisant that there are positive socio-economic outputs generated by our service in the countries where we invest,” stated Netflix’s Director of Public Policy for Sub-Saharan Africa, Shola Sanni.

“This MoU will play a major role in harnessing these positive externalities driving impact beyond direct investment in local content only, to measurable inputs in other crucial aspects of the screen production value chain,” she said.

Analysts predict that streaming will increase fast in Africa over the next few years. According to Digital TV Research, a London-based think group, African digital platform customers would increase by 233 percent to 13 million by 2025.

Netflix, Multichoice’s ShowMax, and Amazon all hoping to utilize Kenya as a launching pad for expansion into the rest of the region.

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