Streaming giant, Netflix, could soon start accepting payment from Kenyan subscribers via mobile money. The move is aimed at establishing itself as the dominant player in the Kenyan market. Netflix has already established a strong foothold in Nigeria and South Africa, two of Africa’s largest economies.
Netflix is reportedly working with a number of local telecos to enable their subscribers pay for the service via mobile money.
In South Africa, Netflix partnered with Vodacom and Telkom to offer a similar payment service.
Netflix has several millions of users in Africa, and is looking to grow this number. Africa could be a key source of revenue for the streaming giant in the near future. Netflix is facing stiff competitors such as Disney and Hulu which ate yet to enter the African market.
Expanding into Africa comes with a unique set of challenges such as limited access to reliable internet; in addition to this majority of users have slow and expensive internet.
Netflix’s Head of Original Programming in Africa, Dorothy Ghettuba, says the use of credit cards is very low in Africa, which is Netflix’s primary mode of payment. As such there is need for Netflix to change tact and accept payment via mobile money.
Ghettuba also disclosed that the streaming company is seeking more telcos to partner; Kenya’s Safaricom has a head start owing to M-Pesa’s widespread use in the country.
To counter the internet challenges, Netflix has a “download” feature, which allows users to save content offline while connected to wi-fi. This saves users the pain of having to part with lots of money to pay for mobile data.
SA-based Multichoice Group is currently the dominant player in Africa’s pay-tv market, with several products such as DSTV. Its products are very popular as they provide access to several news and sports channels.
Multichoice also has its own streaming service, Showmax, which is a direct Netflix competitor.
Netflix has attempted to diversify its catalogue by licensing content from African creators. It so far has content from Kenya, Senegal, Ghana, Zimbabwe, Angola and Mozambique. This is no doubt a move seeking to ensure it appeals more to African countries.
Ghettuba did not disclose more about Netflix’s strategy for expanding into the continent.