Netflix might closeout 2021 with 2.6 million subscribers in Africa. Considering that the streaming service aims to have at least 5.6 million subscribers by 2026 and that it had 1.4 million subscribers at the end of 2020, Netflix appears to be growing at a steady pace and will likely hit its growth target.
However, if you consider the fact that Netflix has over 209 million subscribers worldwide, with 27 million in Asia, and 38 million in Latin America, you may wonder why Netflix’s growth is stunted in Africa.
Netflix launched in Latin America in 2011, and 2015 in Asia, starting with Japan. Even though the launch timelines for Asia and Africa are similar, the growth is incomparable. Asia has at least ten times the number of subscribers when compared to Africa. Of course, there’s the argument that Asia’s huge subscriber base is due to their population which stands at 4.6 billion – three times the size of Africa’s population.
But there’s another reason why Netflix’s growth in Africa is (and may remain) stunted compared to other continents. As always, it’s a numbers game.
Even at $3.99, Netflix is still expensive
In June, Netflix announced a mobile plan across Sub-saharan Africa to help boost subscriptions. At $3.99, the cheapest is the mobile plan while the Premium plan was slated for $11.99.
Similar plans were launched in Argentina and Turkey, where the cheapest mobile plans are $3.28 and $3.68 respectively. Both plans have helped increase the subscriber counts in countries with Argentina recording 5.07 million subscribers as of Q2 2021, and Turkey recording 3.09 million in the same quarter.
In Africa though, the story is different. While subscription costs may be relatively affordable, streaming is not.
According to Netflix, one hour of streaming movies or series costs 1GB of data at standard definition, and 3GB at high definition.
1GB of data on the continent can be as high as $35 while the average price for 1GB, on the continent, is $5.
Let’s do some quick math: In the US, the average time spent on Netflix is 8 hours per week. In Africa, spending that much time on Netflix could cost anywhere from $40 per week, or $160 a month.
Zoom out: Pay TV services on the continent, however, are growing rapidly. There are presently 34 million subscribers on the continent and the number is projected to grow to 51 million by 2026. Unlike streaming services, users of PayTV services do not have to spend extra on data services.
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Can we guess what you’re having for lunch today? Or at least the color?
The color and appearance of food influence how we interpret flavour. The more balanced the color palette of a dish is, the more appealing it becomes to us.
Aesthetics play a large role in dining. That’s why we spend so much time bingeing short food videos online; we may not be able to taste it but the colors help us build a sketch of what it could taste like.
Psyzne.pl, a Polish food and lifestyle firm, was inspired by this and they’ve created color palettes that illustrate lunch options in different countries.
Here’s what lunchtime in Africa looks like:
Nigeria’s palette is characterized by red, yellow, green, and beige tones. Per the report, the most popular lunchtime options in the country are jollof rice and efo-riro, a vegetable dish made with spinach, locust beans, and assorted meats.
East Africa’s Ethiopia palette has beige and brown tones, highlighting the country’s love for spice, meat, and injera.
Down south, in South Africa, the colour palette ranges from dark browns to peaches and beige tones while Tanzania’s, where maize, rice and stews are loved, is made up completely of beige tones.
How accurate is this picture?
Psyzne.pl reports that the palettes are built from data obtained from analyzing online reviews from over 3 million restaurants in 151+ countries all over the world. It doesn’t, however, give info on how many restaurants were analyzed in each of the countries, and from what regions.
This brings to mind how accurate the palettes are.
If the methodology involves getting online reviews, then there’s definitely a lot of colors missing in Africa’s food palette. The percentage of restaurants that have web pages, or are registered on Google Maps in Nigeria, is lower when compared with other continents. Reviews, even more so.
Add the low percentage of internet penetration (28.2%) and smartphone penetration (40%) to the mix, it becomes clearer why online reviews of restaurants may not tell the full stories of what Africa is eating.
Zoom out: The food sector in Africa, anywhere really, is forever growing and tech companies are taking advantage of it too. Reports like this can help restaurants and services like Jumia Food, Bolt Food, or EdenLife hack growth by understanding the market.
TC INSIGHTS: A Mobile-powered Africa
In Accra, Asare can get most things she needs by swiping her phone. Mobile applications have bridged the gap between the physical and virtual world. This wouldn’t have been possible fifteen years ago. Today, more than 80% of Africa’s population has a mobile subscription. In many African countries, the digital economy is becoming a huge driver of growth, with the potential of contributing more than 5% to the continent’s GDP by 2025.
Across the region, mobile-enabled platforms have disrupted different sectors of the economy. An example is the growth of mobile money and the improved financial inclusion rate.
However, the journey is far from over. Compared to other regions, Africa remains the least connected region with about 28.2% internet coverage and 34% mobile broadband connection.
Few citizens have digital IDs, businesses adopting digital technologies remain the exception rather than the norm, and few governments are investing in developing digital infrastructure and services.
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Every week, TechCabal shares job opportunities in the African ecosystem.