Netflix Still Tries To Crack Africa Yet A New Contender Is On The Move

By  |  January 13, 2021

For as much as we know, Netflix is still trying to break even in Africa. But while the streaming giant tries to hurdle its way through the continent’s OTT space in the wake of its competitors, a significant contender just arrived the block.

French OTT TV streaming service, Molotov, has touched down on the continent as part of its international expansion for 2021. The service will be made available in 7 African countries.

It’s already live in Ivory Coast, and will add Senegal in January, Cameroon in February, Burkina Faso in March, Tunisia in April, after which it would move to Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Last year, Netflix resorted to a mobile-only, cheaper alternative to capture its top markets in the continent, Nigeria and South Africa. But it remains a mystery if the strategy will work not just in these countries, but also in relatively smaller economies when the time comes.

An Unusual Pattern?

A look at the countries where Molotov is kicking off from shows an initial preference for Francophone Africa, echoing its French roots. In France, the firm has live TV, premium channels, a cloud DVR and on-demand content. It has been able to gather about 13 million users back home, but has never ventured outside France.

Although, the company is in talks with partners in Europe, South America and Asia to launch regional versions of the service. The grand plan is to rapidly deploy the platform around the world, with a main focus on Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).

Netflix, for instance, is present in 54 African nations, in all of which it offers the same video-on-demand (VoD) services. Starting from Francophone Africa should enable Molotov replicate its French offerings in the continent, perhaps to find a balance between its French strides and the African context.

For Africa, where mobile phones and tablets are more popular than desktop computers, Molotov has optimized its applications to understand regional specifics. That includes low bandrates, low-performance terminals, and unstable connections.

Trying A Difference?

Molotov is joining hands with Digital Virgo, a mobile payments firm that serves up to 40 countries. The firm is attending to the OTT firm’s business with local content owners, through which it serves its targets regions.

The initial offer for African consumers comprises 15 local linear channels and on-demand content with which users can catch up with major trends around them. Nevertheless, the channel count has been increased to 30, per agreements with regional publishers.

Channels that would be available include Nina TV, Passions TV, Trace Urban, Trace Africa, Trace Urban Africa, Savannah TV, Gametoon, Africanews, Euronews, France24, Trace Sport Stars and DocuBox.

“Our mission is simple: to create the easiest way for viewers to find the content they love through an intuitive service and platform. Molotov not only helps viewers discover new content, but also provides publishers, channels and SVOD services the ability to be easily discovered and more frequently used,” JeanDavid Blanc, founder and CEO of Molotov, said.

By doubling down on local content producers, Molotov might be learning early from the mistakes of its African predecessors. For instance, last year, the South African government announced the imposition of 30 percent local content quota on platforms like Showmax, Amazon Prime Video and Netflix.

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