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Netflix boosts SA’s TV, film industry with R900m capital injection

Staff Writer
By Staff Writer, ITWeb
Johannesburg, 24 Mar 2022

US-based streaming service Netflix has pledged R929 million to the local film industry.

The subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) platform made the announcement this morning at the fourth installment of the South Africa Investment Conference (SAIC), under way at the Sandton Convention Centre.

The conference is part of SA’s investment drive to attract R1.2 trillion over five years. The SAIC attracts delegates from SA and worldwide to discuss investment opportunities.

Since the first investment conference in 2018, the country has attracted R770 billion in commitments across a wide range of economic sectors.

The Netflix investment pledge comes amid ramped up efforts by SVOD platforms to power locally-produced content.

It is expected the investment pledge will cover four productions that will be filmed in South Africa this year and in 2023.

Speaking to public broadcaster the SABC, Netflix’s Shola Sanni said the investment demonstrates the streaming service “really loves” South Africa and believes in the local talent and creativity that comes out of the country.

“South Africa is on the cusp of something really spectacular, and this is why we are making this kind of commitment to show the creative industry does have a role to play as far as pushing this country forward on its economic agenda.”

Besides it being a large investment, Sanni points out the funds will go a long way towards job creation.

“The special thing about film and TV production is the fact that it injects a lot of capital into the economy in a relatively short amount of time.

“Of that capital, it doesn’t stop in the film and TV industry. It goes to sectors like transport, catering, retail and fashion; there are so many other sectors that are supported by the stuff that film and TV does.

“For us, we’re super-excited that this is an opportunity for us to create jobs.”

Sanni explained that Project Panda, which is one of the productions that make up the Netflix pledge, is going to create more than 1 000 full-time-equivalent jobs.

"For us, that’s livelihoods; people who are able to get up in the morning and go earn a living.

“That’s also skills building and knowledge transfer, and a whole generation of people who, next year, will be at the forefront of opportunity because they’ve had the chance to hone their skills on projects like Panda.

“Beyond the capital injection, there’s a whole social and economic benefit that follows these productions,” she concludes.