Netflix announces plans to invest in African TV shows

The American streaming company is set to commission some original series in 2019.

Months after acquiring Nigerian filmmaker Genevieve's 'Lion heart', Netflix has revealed plans to commission more African works

According to the company's vice president of international originals, Erik Barmack, an unspecified amount of original series will be commissioned in 2019.

He confirmed this during the Content London conference saying, Netflix's Europe team is "in the process of looking at opportunities in Africa. It's definitely the case that we'll commission some series there in…2019."

Reportedly, Netflix is already scouting for original scripts with local casts.

Barmack went on to explain why the company is making this move. Predicting that international stories will soon be the world's most-watched shows, he noted that commissioning series from Africa definitely agree with Netflix's global ambitions.

"There's going to come a time when half of the top 10 of most-watched shows in a given year are going to come from outside of the U.S. "I don't think that's very actually far away. I think that's going to come in years, not decades. Shows with multinational casts will become the norm," he stated.

Apart from Africa, Netflix is also looking into the Arabic-speaking market since subscribers are currently watching more of the non-English-language shows every month. As such, "Jinn" has been set as the company's first Arabic-language show.

Talking to the room filled with content makers and sellers, he said, "There are 500 million people around the world who speak Arabic, and there's a real opportunity to put different faces and a different type of programming [together] to get away from the traditional Ramadan shows, for example."

He continued, "The big message we want to communicate to talent is you don't have to leave home to get big audiences, and you don't have to choose Hollywood versus your own country. You can do both, and that, we believe, will be able to carry their audiences to their shows regardless of the language they are speaking or where the production comes from."

This news comes after Netflix's acquisition of two movies from Nigeria - Akin Omotosho's 'Vaya'  and Genevieve Nnaji's 'Lion heart.'

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