I remember in January 2016, Netflix announced they were going to have available worldwide. A lot of countries in Africa who weren’t binge watching their favorite shows could now sign up and start watching.
There was a lot of excitement. People were excited in Ghana and some said that DSTV was officially doomed. Finally, we could watch our favorite TV shows and get rid of our satellite dishes.
Well, not so fast…
Fast forward and six months later, I hardly hear of anyone “Netflix and Chilling”. To be honest, this doesn’t surprise me one bit and it shouldn’t surprise you either. I have a couple of reasons why people aren’t signing up to Netflix in droves and streaming Netflix on their TVs and tablets.
Streaming? Just Pass Me Your External
Fun Fact: Everybody in Ghana torrents and downloads. Gone are the days when you would go to Osu and buy a CD of a bootleg movie. Nowadays, people with broadband just pull out their laptops, go to their favorite torrent sites and download. Hardly does anyone stream. After they download and watch, they just share it with their family and friends on their external hard drives.
Honestly, it’s more convenient. If you haven’t heard, internet service providers aren’t really helpful when it comes to data. Vodafone, who provides broadband internet to most homes keeps increasing prices when it comes to their broadband packages.
Ok, maybe you want to use Surfline’s 4G internet? Prepare to pay premium prices because that’s not cheap either.
It’s better to download and play than to stream content. That’s the bottom line.
Maybe one day, when an ISP decides to give consumers more affordable data bundles, Ghanaian consumers might be willing to sign up and use Netflix.
The Hype Train
Ghanaians LOVE hype. Ghanaians are very “Mr Me Too”. Everyone wants to involved in the latest and greatest thing. Unfortunately, being involved in the latest and greatest thing doesn’t translate into “paying” for that new thing.
Uber just arrived in Accra and lots of people are tweeting their excitement. But if I had to dig down to find out whether people would actually pay to use Uber in the long term, that might turn out to be something else. But I’ll reserve judgment for now and see how Uber turns out in the next couple of months.
The hype train was full steam ahead when Netflix became available in Ghana. So many tweets and people talking about getting to “Netflix and Chill”.
Well, it seems people aren’t really ready to pay to Netflix and Chill. Apart from paying monthly fees to Netflix, people aren’t ready to use up their precious data to stream movies or TV shows and I don’t blame them. Why stream a TV show which uses up 1 GB of data when I could download a whole series which is about 1.2GB?
So basically, Ghanaians love hype but turning that hype into actual commitment is another story.
And that’s just some reasons by Netflix is less likely to gain ground in Ghana and some African countries. Until we get really good reliable and affordable internet, no one is going to stream content. People are too comfortable with downloading. Unless there’s a service out there which provides unlimited downloading of shows for a subscription fee, maybe (but not likely), Ghanaians will pony up money for it. But knowing my people, we like stuff for free or really cheap.
I remember when I used to stream Netflix through my Xbox 360. I used to pay about $50-$60. My data cap was about 300GB. In Ghana, paying up to 200GB is 250GHC and 500GB is 400GHC is on the high side. That’s not small change. Not a lot of average Ghanaians can afford that.
So for now, no Netflix and Chill for us in Ghana. We’re quite happy with Torrent and Chill.