Netflix is currently producing season 3 of Blood & Water in SA.
- SA is becoming a top production location for Netflix content.
- By showcasing locally produced content on the world market, it also boosts tourism, in the view of the global streaming entertainment giant’s director of content in Africa.
- Skills development and cultural education also play an important part for the Netflix executives on the continent.
Netflix’s pledge to invest in local SA content could have even bigger benefits than are immediately apparent – it could give a leg up to the ailing tourism industry, too.
Ben Amadasun, director of content for global streaming entertainment company Netflix in Africa, says that turning attention to content produced in South Africa, will also encourage visitors to flock to the country. In 2021, Netflix collaborated with SA Tourism to share a study that found that after watching South African content, viewers surveyed in Canada, France, UK, Brazil, US and Germany were 3.1 times more likely to make South Africa their number one travel destination while also being 5.6 times more likely to learn a local language.
“SA and the rest of Africa is full of incredible stories and we want to play a part in bringing those to the world market. Research shows that people are more likely to visit a country as a result of seeing and enjoying footage from that country. In that sense our increasingly diverse offering plays a part,” Amadasun told Fin24 on Tuesday.
At President Cyril Ramaphosa’s recent investment summit Netflix announced it will invest R929 million in the local creative industry by 2023. Netflix’s global service is available to 222 million members in over 190 countries. Amadasun says its local focus brings the potential of job creation in SA’s creative industry.
Dorothy Ghettuba, director of series for Africa at Netflix, describes local storytelling in SA as “vibrant”.
In it for the long haul
“We are here for the long haul and are also investing in skills and talent development to build capacity for our local productions,” she says. “We want to show the world that SA has more than just one story. SA is a top destination for us.”
For her an example of the popularity of locally produced Netflix content, is the Blood & Water series of which a third season is currently in production.
“Great stories can come from anywhere and be enjoyed anywhere – that is the power of storytelling,” says Tendeka Matatu, director of film for Africa at Netflix. “Great stories can also have a cultural education element.”
Biggest production in Africa
One of the major titles being filmed in partnership with Film Afrika is Project Panda – the working title of an international title One Piece. One Piece is currently Netflix’s biggest production in Africa to date in terms of scale and budget. The production will create opportunities for over 50 cast members from South Africa, with over 1 000 full-time crew member jobs.
Over the last five years, Netflix has invested over R2 billion in South African productions, creating over 1 900 jobs in the process.
As at December 2020, more than 80 South African films and television series were available on Netflix. In 2021, Netflix estimated that for every one local view of a South African title on Netflix, there were 26 views by households outside of South Africa.