Netflix spending R900 million on shows in South Africa

Video streaming giant Netflix is spending more than R900 million in four South Africa-based productions over the next two years.

Netflix revealed the investment amount at the 4th Annual South African Investment Conference at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

“South Africa is fast becoming a top global location for Netflix productions, with the country viewed as a go-to location with a robust and talented film industry filled with local creatives to bring international stories to life,” Netflix stated.

The investment will cover one international and three local productions, filmed in South Africa in 2022 and 2023.

“These productions, which are just some of the many shows the company is creating in South Africa with local production partners like Film Afrika, Gambit Films, Quizzical Pictures and Burnt Onion, will significantly boost the South African film and TV industry,” the streaming service said.

Netflix said it would showcase South Africa’s local stories to a global audience of 222 million users across more than 190 countries.

It will also create job opportunities and bolster the local economy.

“When a Netflix Original is commissioned, there is an opportunity for writers, directors, actors, stylists and make-up artists, as well as a long list of industries and trades that make the production of a complex series or film possible,” Netflix said.

“There’s also a multiplier-effect with any investment: the economic impact of each of the projects in South Africa is several times greater than the actual money invested.”

Netflix Original My Octopus Teacher was filmed in South Africa and won the Oscar for Best Documentary in 2021

One of the big shows currently in production is Project Panda — the working title of the international series One Piece — a live-action adaptation of the successful manga/anime show.

“One Piece is currently Netflix’s biggest production in Africa to date in terms of scale and budget, covering South African cast and crew, infrastructure, and suppliers,” Netflix said.

“The production will create opportunities for over 50 cast members from South Africa, with over 1,000 full-time crew member jobs.”

“This also includes a mentorship programme for over 30 young creatives and technicians in collaboration with the SA Film Academy during 2022,” it added.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and trade minister Ebrahim Patel visited the show’s set at the Cape Town Film Studios last week.

President Cyril Ramaphosa and various government officials on the set of Netflix’s One Piece

Netflix has invested over R2 billion in South African productions over the last five years, which it claims has created over 1,900 jobs.

More than 80 South African films and television series were available on Netflix by December 2020.

In 2021, the service estimated that for every single local view of a South African title on Netflix, there were 26 views by households outside of South Africa.

“Netflix is committed to South Africa for the long term, and we’re investing in talent both in front of and behind the camera,” said Shola Sanni, Netflix’s director of public policy in Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Since our launch in 2016, we’ve been working with South African creators and distributors to bring high-quality stories that showcase the best of South Africa’s creativity and talent to a global audience — and this is only just the beginning.”

Sanni said Netflix was keen to see the government continue maintaining the favourable investment environment that has so far enabled the service’s investments.

These include initiatives like the Foreign Film and Production incentive scheme operated by the Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition.

“It would be great for our long-term investment plans to see even more transparency and predictability in that area because the presence of a reliable incentive scheme is crucial for our financial decisions,” Sanni added.

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Netflix spending R900 million on shows in South Africa