Netflix is now live in Nigeria! Bring on the bowls of popcorn as we start to binge on TV. OK, for many this piece of news makes no mark on their radar of what they consider as notable or important news. While for many like me, this is really great news. If you pay attention to what you watch on some streaming Internet services, you would know that Netflix is one of the biggest brands in the business. If not the biggest by some distance.
So what is Netflix? It is an American company that is best known for providing video on demand (VOD) through its streaming services over the Internet. The company which has its headquarters in the incorporated town of Los Gatos in Santa Clara, California, was founded in 18 years ago in August 1997. It started its subscription-only service in 1999. Presently, Netflix has over 70 million subscribers worldwide, and this subscriber base is bound to increase geometrically in the coming months with the recent expansion to 130 more countries.
It is the recent expansion to 130 more countries that brought the service to Nigeria. Announcing the news at the ongoing Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, The CEO Reed Hastings said,
“Today you are witnessing the birth of a new global Internet TV network.With this launch, consumers around the world — from Singapore to St. Petersburg, from San Francisco to Sao Paulo — will be able to enjoy TV shows and movies simultaneously — no more waiting. With the help of the Internet, we are putting power in consumers’ hands to watch whenever, wherever and on whatever device.
From today on wards, we will listen and we will learn, gradually adding more languages, more content and more ways for people to engage with Netflix,” said Hastings. “We’re looking forward to bringing great stories from all over the world to people all over the world.”
This announcement basically increases the company’ s distribution threefold, creating a truly global Internet TV service. The only notable exception is China. It won’t also be available in places like Crimea, North Korea and Syria due to the sanctions and restrictions on trade in those countries by US Government. The company said it would continue work towards extending the service to these countries.
Netflix’s business model depends on subscribers paying a monthly access fee to have access to the TV series and movies. You must of course have good Internet connection to enjoy these programs. In the US, one can get monthly access for as low as $8. This is relatively cheap when compared to DSTV where the fee for the premium bouquet is almost 15000 naira a month.
The downside for us in Nigeria is the cost of Internet data. To really enjoy Netflix in Nigeria our service providers need to make unlimited internet access very cheap. Or Netflix in Nigeria would be just another elitist consumer product. So the prayer for people like me is for our service providers to do two things,
1.lower the cost of data and
2.improve the strength of network 3G signals or better still upgrade to LTE also known as 4G.
Then we can start enjoying shows like these