Why We Hate Netflix in Nigeria (And You Should, Too!)

There’s been lots of excitement about the arrival of Netflix around the world in the recent week and nowhere has that enthusiasm been more pronounced compared to some of Africa’s biggest countries like Nigeria.

A lot of Nigerians are still excited about Netflix in Nigeria and looking forward to the Netflix selection of original, licensed shows and movies like it’s in the western world.

Maybe you have read many articles about the growing penetration of smartphones and increased internet access in the large and mid-sized African economies of countries like Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. But, I have to warn you that, that’s a significant challenge if you have plans on tossing out the DSTV satellite dish to Netflix and Chill.

So many people are prone to the arrival and may end up with Netflix and buffering as compared to the purpose, “Netflix and  chilling”.

The California-based company will face different challenges across various African markets, but they’ll have two big things in common in many African countries: spotty internet connectivity and pricey data plans.

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“If you’re in Nigeria, you should be aware of the problem of fast speed internet and Netflix talented engineers are constantly testing to compress more data through more complex encoding,” Netflix spokesman said.

Netflix says it’s still trying to figure out its technical way of Africa, but is expanding its global content delivery network. “It’s week our availability in Africa and even in many places all over the world, and we’ll be learning about what’s working well, and after that improving as we go along,” said a Netflix spokesperson by email.

Regular viewing of Netflix uses more than enough amount of data in a month. Many Nigerians cannot afford to pay so much for data. Watching movies or TV programs on Netflix uses about 1GB of data per hour for each and every stream of standard definition video, and up to 3GB by the hour per stream of HD video.

This will create headaches for Netflix members that have a regular monthly bandwidth or a data cap on their own Websites. Despite these challenges, some African markets like Nigeria seem more ready for Netflix than many developed countries.

Conversely, Kenyans still overwhelmingly watch on their own television sets, this is not on their Smartphones, tablets or laptops, and few own smart TVs. Additionally, there are questions over what Netflix’s impact may be on local players in the streaming business. In Nigeria, you have IRoko TV and many people have been asking what would happen to this company, since Netflix in Nigeria is real.

Like a preemptive key to Netflix’s launch, Naspers launched ShowMax, an on-demand video service, recently.

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But Netflix Nigeria has a plan. The business has created video compression technology allowing it to make available shows, movies, and documentaries even over slow connections. Netflix director, Reed Hastings was actually excited about the technology when he announced the that to the global roll-by at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas USA.

The adaptive streaming technology works well by caching content on servers worldwide wherever its ISP partners have wanted it, Hastings explained. The technology has helped deliver more than 125 million hours of video daily in over 60 countries, the chief said.

The situation, according to Netflix Nigeria, there are no servers in sub-Saharan Africa or India, another major new market. “All of these on-demand video streaming players are coming into a small but growing market; they just want to all be there at the starting line.”

So, what do you think about Netflix coming to Nigeria?  Let us know what you’re thinking by leaving your comment below.

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