Netflix re. Nigeria; Showmax to screen Live Sport; Disney+ scores big with 'Hamilton'
Updated: Jul 10
Netflix clarifies its role in Nigeria
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Netflix Execs had a sit-down with Nollywood Execs. The two elephants bashed heads, but seemed to have worked out a way forward.
Regarding original content production by Nigerians, Netflix explained their approach: "For original [concepts] we come in at the very beginning. Some ideas can be in the pitch, concept or script format. What is always important like I said is that the story is strong and has the ability for viewers to watch and enjoy. Our style is a partnership."
This is what they had to say about what they pay for local content: "What we do, not only in Nigeria but across the other markets, especially from a licensing perspective, is that we pay market rates. We know our markets, and this reflects the rates we pay are and what the value is to us as a business. So it isn't blanket rates obtainable across all the African countries. It is all to do with the individual content."
There also seems to have been a fair bit of discussion about the quality of content and the concepts: "Content quality is essential, as is the ability of the content to travel. We want to make sure that these stories can engage in local markets as well as travel internationally. We want to make sure the quality standards are quite strong in terms of production values. That is very important to us."
My take on this is that Netflix cracked the whip and said 'Hey, you're not going to get away with the levels of quality you've allowed on a some Nollywood platforms, and don't tell us you know what stories your market wants. It's bigger than that. Your stories have to have international reach, so enough with the witch stories shot in iPhones. You wanna play on Netflix? Up your game.' But that's just me.
Multichoice to offer live sport on Showmax
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In what is probably the biggest concession to the rising dominance of streaming and VOD over the satellite subscription model, Showmax, the VOD division of Multichoice, has said it will provide live sports (from SuperSport) on its Showmax Premium platform:
"It is believed that the live sports content... might include titles such as the English Premier League, Italian Serie A, Spanish La Liga and the South African PSL games."
Only last week there were rumours from Multichoice that it was mulling the renewal-payment of its English Premier League and UEFA TV-rights.
Could this be a way of supplementing that revenue, so that they can keep these rights?
In my view, this is good strategy, as British and European football are a key factor in subs-retention for SuperSport.
Showmax could be a good way to supplement those revenues. The loss of English Premier League and UEFA football could even spell the beginning of the end for the sports channel. If they can find a way to retain these properties, it will stand them in good stead for the longer term.
Disney+ scores big on release of Hamilton
The power of streaming has once again turned tables on traditional distribution platforms: Disney, in an historic decision, decided to scrap cinematic release of its video-recording of the Broadway hit musical, Hamilton and instead, offer it on its streaming platform, Disney+.
According to data research firm Apptopia, the Disney+ app was downloaded 752,451 times globally between Friday and Sunday following Hamilton’s launch on 3 July, with 458,796 downloads in the US alone.
That was 74% higher than the average totals over a comparable timeframe in June for the US, and 47% higher worldwide.
Hamilton, which casts the America’s founding fathers with non-white performers, has taken the musical theatre world by storm since its launch in 2015. Written by and initially starring Lin-Manuel Miranda, the show was celebrated for its blend of historical storytelling with a modern hip-hop soundtrack.
The show quickly became a hit on Manhattan’s Broadway and later London’s West End, with Disney winning a bidding war for rights in February with a $75m offer – believed to be the biggest film acquisition deal ever.
A stage recording of Hamilton with its original cast that was filmed in 2016 was initially set to release in cinemas in October 2021, but Disney made the shock move to scrap this plan in its entirety as Covid-19 hit, and make the musical a streaming exclusive for Disney+ more than a year ahead of schedule.
With the download figures at over half a million over the weekend, it appears that audiences starved of the possibility of getting to a theatre were keen to watch the 160-minute stage recording.
Prior to this increase, Apptopia said that Disney+ had nearly 71.5 million mobile app downloads worldwide. The download number does not include India or Japan, where Disney+ was rolled into a pre-existing app.