For those who are not aware of Netflix, Netflix is an American company that offers both physical DVD rentals and streaming video services.
Until recently, Netflix has been operating in North America, South America and Europe where it has a market capital of $25.5 Billion.
Netflix launched across Africa on 6th of January 2015. Social media has contributed to the hype and excitement of being able to stream live shows and movies.
Like any other movie fanatic this was exciting news to me as I don’t have to wait to watch a new movie (as has been the norm of watching them through ‘second camera-shot Cinema’ just to keep up with the social media trends; you don’t want to be left behind, throwing your tweets in June about a movie that was launched in January!).
But when reality kicks in, will I be able subscribe to Netflix? What other options do I have? What is Netflix competing against in Africa?
For the case of Rwanda Netflix is competing against DSTV, GO TV, Star Times, Canal+ and other batch of local-based private TV stations.
DSTV offers sports bouquet packages which costs approximately $63 per month that Netflix does not offer as an Arsenal fan; and considering that Arsenal will be champions this year – it means that I most definitely will choose DSTV. However DSTV does not offer the quality picture and most recent releases (brand new) movies offered by Netflix.
More so, Canal+ which offers the lowest subscription packages at US$10.05 per month is also incomparable in terms of quality content to Netflix. Additionally, Canal+ majorly offers content in French language which gives me no choice but to drop this option because I don’t speak a lot of French (though I cannot starve in France “je veux de l’eau”!) .
GO TV costs US$8.98 per month but like Canal+, the content quality is nowhere near Netflix’s; and ideally, a movie person should opt for Netflix!
This brings me to Netflix – whose lowest subscription offer is US$7.99 per month – but with a lot of additional complications. For instance, how do I pay? The main mode of transaction utilized by many Africans is mobile or cash payments. Also, the cost of internet is high and for one to stream movies on Netflix, one needs a steady and fast internet which means I need to subscribe to unlimited internet.
The only telecommunication Company that offers unlimited internet in Rwanda is MTN Rwanda which costs USD$33.49 per month, and though there are other Telcos with same bundle packages, it ain’t advisable to use them on Netflix. Therefore if you were to opt for Netflix you would pay USD$41.48 per month.
For Netflix to take off in Rwanda, some collaborations or innovations have to take place. The opportunity is that 4G LTE has been launched in Rwanda therefore telecommunication companies can come up with internet packages that favor Netflix subscribers.
Another opportunity is that the government of Rwanda has already invested in an optic fiber that covers the whole country, therefore a startup company that can invest in laying fiber to homes meaning that the cost of internet would drop.