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  • Writer's pictureScottnes Leeroy Smith

The Wall Street Journal Article

Netflix Ups the Ante in Africa

On stage in a marine park stadium, a director yells “Action!” and the cameras roll as a young woman in a turquoise wetsuit starts to dance and a sea lion leaps from a cobalt-blue tank and twirls in front of her.

It is one of the final scenes being filmed for “JIVA!,” a Netflix Inc. original series about a talented dancer who realizes her moves could be her ticket out of a working-class neighborhood in coastal Durban, South Africa. It is one of a raft of new series the global streaming giant hopes will score millions of new subscribers across the world’s youngest and fastest-growing continent.

“I pitched the story, they loved it and then they green lit it. It was like one, two, three,” said Busisiwe Ntintili, creator, showrunner and executive producer of the show, slated to premiere world-wide on the streaming service in 2021. “It shows that Netflix really knows what they want.”

Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the final frontiers in Netflix’s bid for world domination of the $100 billion video-streaming market. Its 1.1 billion citizens represent a vast untapped opportunity for the company. In January, Netflix said it had surpassed 100 million subscribers outside the U.S. for the first time.

Streaming in Africa is expected to grow rapidly. Digital TV Research, a London-based industry forecaster, estimates subscriptions in Africa will balloon to 13 million by 2025, up from 3.9 million in 2020.

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