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Thursday, January 7, 2016


Online video streaming service Netflix has rolled out its service to be available in over 130 countries including Kenya.

The service which will begin at US$7.99 (Sh820) for the basic package,  $9.99 (Sh1020) for the
Standard package and $11.99 (Sh1227) for the premium package.

Kenyans users will however need to sign up using their Visa/Mastercard's or Paypal accounts to stream movies from Netflix.

The American giant will face stiff competition in this market from Naspers Group's Showmax movie streaming service which was launched last year and is in trial phase in many African countries currently.

Unlike Netflix, Showmax has allowed free streaming of content for a trial period without requiring credit/debt card signup.

The two herald a changing consumer culture on the continent with on-demand services beginning to get attention from newer and existing audiences.

Success will now hinge on availability of good bandwidth and intelligently targeted marketing.

While Netflix has lifted its geo-lock on over 130 locations across the world, Showmax on the other hand seems to be taking its time with each different market.

Owned by South African media giant, Naspers, Showmax execs are likely to draw on the parent company's deep roots on the continent to exploit partnerships and market knowledge to outwit its American rival which will likely take time before it can figure out the quirks of each market it operates in.

Showmax is also likely to exploit local mobile payments methods that are much easier to use for an African population yet to embrace plastic money.

Netflix will likely counter with a much larger catalogue of content and exclusive access to original titles such as Orange is the New Black and House of Cards.

Listed Telco, Safaricom, stands to gain tremendously if a battle of content streaming breaks out as most of the streaming will take place on its network.

Expect to see players rush to sign up partnerships with Safaricom to secure advantage in reaching consumers.

Of interest will be the impending launch of the Safaricom set-top box Generation 2 which is supposed to be bigger and better and rumours of it coming bundled with a content streaming service are rife.

However, the company, which has hired in-house content marketing personnel, is said to be keen on local productions.

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