How the massive Nigerian and South African entertainment industries compare

Nigerian and South African entertainment industries Netflix

Nigeria and South Africa represent two of the largest nations in Africa in terms of population and wealth, and while they’re situated at opposite ends of the Sub-Sahara region, many comparisons can be drawn between the two.

For example, Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa with over 211 million people, which helps the nation to also boast the highest gross domestic product (GDP) on the continent at US$442.98 billion. South Africa has the fifth-largest population with over 60 million people and the third-highest GDP at US$282.59 billion.

They rank closely, but if you do it by a measure of GDP per person, the Rainbow Nation more than doubles The Giant. South Africa does head the total wealth charts, but Nigeria sits firmly in third, with Egypt in between. Nigeria and South Africa even benefit from a sound trade agreement that amounted to around $2.9 billion last year alone.

Both are titans of the continent, particularly when it comes to entertainment. As it stands, South African entertainment and media segments are set to earn revenues of US$3.79 billion by 2023, while Nigeria clocked in at US$4.5 billion in 2018, set to hit US$10.8 billion by 2023. In regards to population, this averages to around US$51.13 per person in Nigeria and $63.09 in ZA.

So, how do Nigeria and South Africa dominate and compare in some popular lines of modern entertainment?

Online browser entertainment driven by internet uptick

Both the Nigerian and South African government have taken great strides in recent years to bring the internet to the people. Be it through contractors or direct government efforts, internet penetration, particularly via smartphones, is very high in both nations. At the end of 2020, Nigeria’s internet penetration stood at over 70 percent, while South Africa’s was closing in on 60 percent.

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Due to its accessibility through a mobile browser and low requirement for data, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the two massive entertainment industries lead the continent as online gambling markets. Nigeria clocks in second with gross gaming revenue of US$58 million in 2018, while South Africa’s had already surpassed US$1.9 billion by 2016, set to grow towards US$2.5 billion by the end of this year. The fundamental difference between the two markets here is the allowance of online casinos.

In South Africa, online casinos operate, with there being a portal for the nation to use as a way of verifying the safe and high-standard sites. In the evolving sector, new casinos arrive and are intensely reviewed regularly, with the rigorous process that leads to recommendations allowing trust in online casinos. Not only this but there’s already enough competition in the country that sites feel compelled to offer welcome bonuses. In Nigeria, the focus is very much on sports betting, while ZA nabs around US$257 in taxes and levies from the gambling operations.

Local streaming bodies going toe-to-toe with the big brands

In much of the world, streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) is dominated by one name in particular: Netflix. Across much of Africa, Netflix is, indeed, the go-to source for movies and TV shows via streaming. However, two platforms crafted in Nigeria and South Africa continue to draw customers from the gargantuan US company, while also being two of the largest markets for SVOD on the continent.

South Africa is set to hit 4.5 million SVOD subscribers by 2025, standing as the largest market. Its contribution to the continent’s market, though, is far more impactful. Showmax, which was launched in 2015 by ZA media company Naspers, carries the big-name US shows from HBO as well as Afrikaans content. Better still, it can all be streamed directly or downloaded for use later without an internet connection.

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While not quite as massive as South Africa’s audience, the 2.73 million SVOD subscribers in Nigeria by 2025 isn’t anything to be scoffed at, and neither is the home platform iROKOtv. Launching in late 2011, it was immediately given the moniker of the ‘Netflix of Africa.’ Now a popular platform thanks to its massive array of Nollywood content, iROKOtv actually started out on YouTube before going independent. The platform is now even seeking to go public on the stock exchange of London, aiming for a market cap of US$100 million.

Nigeria and South Africa are massive media markets. While the two go about and offer the separate entertainment sectors something a bit different, they look set to maintain their mantle in the long run.

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