Apple’s year has started well, but the same cannot be said for Netflix. The streamer announced a significant loss of 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022 and an expected loss of two million more by the second quarter.
In 2020, Netflix announced accelerated growth in its subscriber base during lockdown, signaling growth in the overall streaming market for audio and video platforms. It seemed like the platforms with a product flywheel like YouTube, Amazon and Apple were well on their way to attracting more subscribers.
Unfortunately in Africa, the standard remains far from impressive compared to global benchmarks despite internet penetration and marketing strategies developed through research on consumer behavior among an increasingly young population, streaming platforms visual scramble to get ahead in an unpredictable region, with a history of economic instability and political upheaval.
Directed by Multiple choice/DSTVthe streaming offer of and the first breakthroughs of Netflix, Showmax – to a greater extent – and Amazon Prime also threw their hats into the ring. Somewhere else, facebook watch ponders his next step alongside Youtube.
While the conceptually cool Hulu, Disney Plus, Apple TV and others watch from afar. Over the past two years, Netflix has sponsored more than a handful of Nigerian movies and TV shows. Recently, he tried to crown his efforts with the pan-African viral reality show: Young, Famous and African.
Showmax, on the other hand, linked to Afrobeats with a reality show for the winner of BBNaija: Lockdown, Laycon as well as its mutually beneficial partnership with DSTV, a healthy flow of HBO content and brand new Real Housewives of Lagos.
While Amazon Prime was in the field (long before its high-profile AFRIFF sessions), until now the streamer was stealthily watching from a distance to perhaps understand the market.
Although there have been rumors that he intends to finance some Afrobeats documentaries after hiring a veteran totem of excellence in Wangi Mba-Uzokwu, FlavorThe documentary is the first time we will publicly hear concrete news about Amazon Prime’s acquisition foray. Note that the streamer announced a few licensing deals earlier this year with Anthill Studios and Inkblot Productions.
Rumor has it that Flavor started filming his biographical documentary and even turned down shows. Sources tell Pulse that the deal was signed in the fourth quarter of 2022. Although the supposed figures of $3 million appear to be false, Pulse cannot confirm the exact figures.
The Amazon Prime Strategy
A subsidiary of Amazon, Amazon Prime video has grown over the past few years, with the help of Amazon’s product flywheel.
Subscribe reports, “The main purpose of Amazon Prime is to retain Amazon and its customers. When the customer has paid $99 or $10.99 for free shipping, he automatically wants to make the most of the subscription fees already paid.
Like every other platform, its customer acquisition strategy has been woven around original exclusive content behind a paywall model. For visual DSPs, it’s easier because film rights are much more decentralized than music rights. So, getting a heavy catalog will require a lot more work.
The strategy puts an excessive load on the platform to create engaging content, which could attract customers from different platforms to juggle multiple subscriptions.
Prime’s strategy for Africa
At the moment it is not clear.
But from the rumors surrounding the Afrobeats documentaries, and now the Flavor documentary, it seems the company is trying to ride the tails of products and concepts with proven earning power.
This is no different from Netflix’s documentary strategy in Europe and the Americas. It is also no different from the previously stated drive of Showmax and Laycon. There are also rumors that Showmax is funding another Afrobeats documentary.
Why does rolling Afrobeats make sense?
Nollywood is on the rise. Several observers and researchers have repeatedly stated that its potential as a revenue-generating industry far exceeds that of Afrobeats and the music industry. But at present, investing in Nollywood movies from the get-go could prove excessively risky, in an industry where comedies reign like commercial bulldogs, almost to the exclusion of any other genre.
The mainstream Nigerian audience loves his comedies, and they sell out duly in cinemas. Even though a few Nollywood movies have generated significant revenue lately, Afrobeats is less risky right now.
Think of it this way: Investing in artist-led Afrobeats documentaries is already taxing the back of an Afrobeats artist with an incredible following. In the case of Flavour, he has the Nigerian South East under lock and key, alongside other major cosmopolitan African countries, due to his famous live performances.
With recent records like ‘Doings’, ‘Levels’, ‘Egedege’ and ‘Berna’ he has also introduced himself to younger audiences.
More importantly, the determining revenues still come from outside Africa. And Afrobeats as a culture garners enough interest to drive traffic and revenue from one of its top artists.
It looks like it will be a gateway drug, as Afrobeats’ success in film could inspire new investment in Nollywood. The earning power needs to be proven before Amazon Prime fully jumps onto the scene.
$3 million is a lot for Flavor?
First, Pulse cannot confirm the accuracy of this figure. But strictly based on opinions, that would be unlikely. 3 million dollars and less, that’s what a major would have offered Davido, Burna Boy or Assistant in 2018.
These guys just started making this million dollars on endorsement deals recently, and they’re the biggest on the continent. In 2020, although netflix saw a 150% increase in user base, it didn’t really impact revenue. So, Amazon Prime is unlikely to give Flavor that amount, even though he’s a legacy artist with an incredible following.
The key factor here is ROI, which is unlikely to happen in a $3 million deal. But if Amazon Prime really gave Flavor $3 million for his documentary, then artists like Wizkid, Davido, Burna Boy, Olamide should be in celebration, because they will surely demand a fair wage, and it would surely be more than 3 million dollars.