The crime-drama funded by Netflix and produced within South Africa stands as Netflix’s first foray into original African stories and is set to challenge Multichoice’s dominance over the continent. A move which, we can all agree, would be incredibly satisfying to watch.
Netflix is known for branching out into international media. A quick look through the platform’s hundreds of curated shows and movies highlights dozens of foreign productions amid the (admittedly copious) amounts of American and British dramas, comedies and everything in between. Africa has been a little slow on the uptake but that’s all turning around now with the release of Queen Sono.
“We are diving all in when it comes to Africa — we are not just dipping our toes,” said Dorothy Ghettuba, a producer working to establish African media on Netflix, speaking to Bloomberg. “Africans like to see themselves on screen, and Africa has a big population that wants to see their stories represented.”
With the introduction of more Africa-developed media, Netflix is planning on going toe-to-toe with its biggest competitor in Africa: Showmax. Reportedly developing roughly 5 000 hours of African content a year, there’s a reason Showmax is still the frontrunner. Netflix still has a long way to go to challenge their established dominance. The American company is probably hoping quality will outweigh quantity.
“We are not allocating a specific budget to the continent — we look at stories, and we provide the financing that a certain production needs to tell the best story,” said Ghettuba. Having said that, Netflix seems to be going all in on African content as they already have a line up of new series which will launch this year including a Zambian animated series, a thriller set in Cape Town and an untitled Nigerian project. Whether all these will be enough to topple that monopoly Multichoice holds on African produced media and content remains to be seen but if Netflix maintains that high level of quality they’re known for, there’s certainly a chance.