South African telecommunications provider Telkom SA SOC Ltd has discontinued Netflix Inc. from its phone and internet set-top box since October, according to a Bloomberg report.
Telecom’s content executive Wanda Mkhize said in a statement that the partnership between the two companies will not be renewed and declined to provide further details, Bloomberg reported.
We have contacted both companies and will update this post as we learn more.
Netflix has been exploring growth opportunities across Africa in recent years in hopes of increasing its subscriber base and revenue. It’s not clear if it plans to build another route to consumers and existing subscribers in South Africa after its relationship with Telecom ends.
Last month in Kenya, the company announced a free plan available on Android phones to attract new subscribers – who have access to “about a quarter of its TV shows and movies.”
To attract and retain subscribers across Africa, Netflix is now offering content produced in various markets across the continent, including South Africa’s Queen Sono, Kenya’s Sincerely Daisy and Nigeria’s Two Weeks in Lagos.
The video streaming service aims to connect 303 million people, around 28% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa, to the mobile Internet, according to the GSMA Mobile Economy Report in 2021. The number of people connected to mobile internet is expected to grow to around 40% of that population by 2025, giving internet-based companies like Netflix a bigger market.
Cheaper, faster internet across the continent has created a space for video streaming services like Netflix and Amazon.inc to take hold across the continent.
Netflix has another partner in the country. MultiChoice Group Limited, the continent’s largest pay-TV operator, is now offering Netflix and Amazon.Inc as part of its paid video services in South Africa after signing deals with the two companies mid-last year. The move aims to preserve MultiChoice’s subscriber numbers and create another moat around its own low-cost streaming service Showmax, launched in 2015.