The viewership of OTT platforms has skyrocketed with almost the entire world in lockdown. The pandemic has brought a paradigm shift into how we consume entertainment. With movie theaters closed, viewers across all age groups, not just the millennials, are thronging to OTT platforms.
Netflix, a California based leading over-the-top media service provider, has a viewership base over 190 countries. The US-based streaming giant is leaving no stone unturned to capitalize on the unprecedented opportunity of capturing more and more cinemagoing traffic. Netflix is now eyeing the African and Asian markets
Netflix- Viacom 18 Partnership May Get a Fresh Push
After a short partnership with Viacom 18 in 2019, Netflix is considering a more extended collaboration, according to sources. It could be Netflix’s first multi-year partnership with Viacom 18, a unit of Indian giant Reliance Industries’ media subsidiary Network18.
Netflix has recently faced stiff competition from Amazon Prime and Disney+ Hotstar. The recent talks between Netflix and Network 18 may include content production through affiliates like Viacom CBS, Viacom 18, etc. However, there has been no official confirmation from either Netflix or Viacom 18 about the association talks.
As soon as the news hit the market, Network 18 Media & Investments’ shares inflated by 5%.
The production of new shows for Netflix will not bar Viacom 18 from showing its contents on other platforms. It has earlier provided content to many other OTT platforms.
The sources confirmed that no talks regarding financial terms had been finalized. The negotiations may take some more time to come to paper. Earlier in 2019, Viacom 18 licensed three shows to Netflix, and the current discussion of association is about a bigger multi-year partnership. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, while in India last year, said that it would invest a whopping $400 million between 2019 and 2020 for Indian local content creation.
Apart from a few shows like Sacred Games and Delhi Crime, much content on Netflix has failed to impress Indian audiences. The recent association may change the game for Netflix in the coming times. Network 18 is the media arm of billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries. Its ambitious Jio Platform has recently received big investments from Facebook Inc, KKR & Co, among others. According to sources, some Reliance executives are leading the talks between Netflix and Viacom 18.
Africa’s MultiChoice Takes In A Little Red
Africa’s biggest pay-TV group, MultiChoice, announced of partnership with a few OTT players to include their content on its platform. This would be the first such partnership as over-the-top viewership is slowly increasing across the continent. Though MultiChoice’s CEO, Calvo Mawela, didn’t take the name of the potential partners, Netflix and Amazon were the two big names that appeared on the company’s website.
“We need to start preparing ourselves to make sure… we become the platform of choice for people to consume these services.”Calvo Mawela, CEO, MultiChoice
He further added, “If you are a one-stop-shop where they can get all of this… we position ourselves very well in the market for us to gain customers.”
No official confirmation has been made from either MultiChoice or Netflix in this regard. MultiChoice has its own streaming service, Showmax. Rather than competing with the new market entrant, Netflix, it chose to partner with it. MultiChoice has a viewership of over 19.5 million households. Its primary market remains South Africa as other African nations, due to poor internet connectivity, remain a challenge for web media services.
Binge-watching the new norm
The ad-free, continuous streaming of favorite shows has certainly caught the imagination of the masses over the last few years. But the recent pandemic-induced lockdown has made binge-watching the norm in almost every household. It is premature to say if this norm will sustain once we return to normal lives after the pandemic. But the OTT platforms seem to be making every possible effort to not retain its viewership but expand it for the long-term with engaging content.