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Expect more noise from Netflix

South Africans can expect to hear more from video streaming service Netflix in future as it only had a “soft launch” this week, writes GARETH VAN ZYL.

This is the view of local technology analyst Arthur Goldstuck who is the managing director of research firm World Wide Worx.

Netflix switched on its online movie and series streaming service on Wednesday in South Africa as part of a launch in 130 countries.

“It should be borne in mind that Netflix has merely activated a South African page, meaning it’s open to business from South Africans, but it has not yet formally launched in South Africa,” Goldstuck told Fin24 over email on Thursday.

“It is, initially, a soft launch, with little marketing behind it and no local presence. We can expect more noise in due course, but for now it is little more than an ‘Oh hi, South Africa’ message.

“More than 130 territories launched this week, so we can’t expect too much local love on day one,” Goldstuck said.

South Africans can watch shows such as Suits, Narcos and Weeds on Netflix. However, locals can’t access television hits like House of Cards on the service owing to content right reasons, Netflix told Fin24.

Pay TV provider MultiChoice confirmed to Fin24 on Thursday that it holds local rights to shows like House of Cards.

“The world of content licensing has traditionally been very fragmented and regionalised,” Netflix told Fin24.

“It will take some time, several years at least, to get to an offering that’s the same everywhere,” the company said.

Netflix told Fin24 on Thursday that it plans to boost its catalog for South Africa and spend up to $5bn this year in securing more content rights across the globe.

But in the meantime, South Africans can expect to pay the same price for Netflix as those in the US at $7.99 per month, but have access to less content.



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