Netflix is strategically positioning itself to dominate the African on-demand streaming video market, with projections indicating a substantial 41.9% share by 2029. A recent report by Digital TV underscores Africa’s trajectory in the subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) space, forecasting a surge in subscriptions. By 2029, the continent is expected to have 18 million SVOD subscribers, a significant jump from the present 8 million.
At the forefront is Netflix, projected to lead with an impressive 7.55 million paid subscribers by 2029, marking a gain of 3.4 million. Showmax follows closely, forecasted to reach 4.39 million subscribers by 2029, a rise of nearly 3 million. Amazon is predicted to capture 3.14 million subscribers, while Disney and others are expected to gather 1.54 million and 1.1 million subscribers respectively. In contrast, Apple TV’s growth is anticipated to be slowest, with an estimated 251,000 paid subscribers.
Despite robust growth on various platforms, SVOD penetration remains modest, with only 7.7% of households projected to subscribe to at least one SVOD service by 2029. Simon Murray, Principal Analyst at Digital TV Research, highlights the evolving landscape of the Anglophone African SVOD sector. Murray notes that Showmax, rich in local content and sports rights, is emerging as Netflix’s primary competitor. Showmax now has access to content from NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures, and HBO.
The global SVOD market has seen rapid expansion. PwC’s report forecasts the industry to earn $14.8 billion in 2025, up from $7.7 billion in 2021, driven by an 85% growth in internet access.
Netflix, earlier this year, announced significant investments in content tailored for key African markets like Nigeria, South Africa, and Kenya. Under its ‘Socio-economic Impact’ initiative, the company disclosed an investment exceeding $175 million in African content. Since its entry in 2016, Netflix has invested over $23 million in Nigerian film production, including popular titles like “Jagun Jagun,” “Anikulapo,” and “King of Boys.”
Similarly, Showmax has experienced 50% year-on-year (YoY) growth in paying subscribers across Africa. Their series “Wura,” comprising 100 episodes, has gained wide popularity. Amazon has also ventured into the African market, collaborating on productions like “Gangs of Lagos,” emphasizing the growing importance of the African SVOD landscape.