Epic Battle of Television: Cable vs Streaming Services

At about 10:44 pm on the 22nd of May, a Wednesday to be precise, I got a WhatsApp message from my diehard Nollywood fan, I’m sure most of you remember him from my previous articles. I was going to bed but something told me to open the message, it was a link to an article and I opened it reluctantly because I so wanted to sleep. The link turned out to be a Forbes article, I was hooked by the title- Netflix Has 175 Days Left To Pull Off A Miracle… Or It’s All Over. The article is about Netflix and Disney and how the online movie streaming giant needs to come up with a new strategy in a few days or else it’s going to go out of business.

It’s no news that Millennials don’t really sit to watch cable television, in America alone, stats show that almost 35 million households have quit cable in the last decade. These days people want rich content at their fingertips, they want to be able to access these contents anywhere and anytime, so for the last decade, people have been moving from cable television to streaming services like Netflix and the likes. Today, you’ll find a lot of millennials and a few older generations subscribed to these streaming platforms. Cord Cutting is what the media calls it. Cable content providing companies are losing so much money and it’s said that Netflix will take up the bulk of it. Their stocks alone have skyrocketed to 8,300% since 2009, now that’s huge.

With the numbers, you’d think Netflix is the future of TV right? Wrong! According to the article and which I quite strongly agree with, Netflix didn’t change What we watch on TV it only change How we watch. Their growth has been mind-blowing and this is because they took away distribution from the cable companies, they also invested heavily on their own produced content which makes them stand out, having exclusive content on the internet is gives you so much leverage. The writer of the article pointed out that in a world where you can watch anything whenever you want, dominance in distribution is very fragile.
Those in the content providing business knows content is king, for this reason, Netflix spent a whopping $12 billion developing original shows just last year. The company released 88% more original programming in 2018 than it did in 2017. This amount is expected to hit $15 billion this year, this makes it the only company that invests more on original content than any other American Television. Funding these projects Netflix continues to run into huge debts. The company currently owes $10.4 billion.

Now here comes the issue, no matter how Netflix spends it doesn’t stand a chance of catching up to its biggest competitor- Disney. Walt Disney is one of the biggest entertainment companies not just in America but in the world. The company has a wealth of experience in the business spanning over 79 years, now that’s an empire. Over the past couple of years, Disney has been losing money because of the disruption in the market. Netflix has been raking in all the cash because Disney makes a large percentage of their revenue from their cable Networks, ESPN and ABC News. But this is about to change as the Entertainment giant is set to launch its own streaming service called Disney+ in a few days and is going to charge $6 dollars cheaper than what Netflix charges. Guess what? It’s pulling all its content off Netflix, this is huge. Netflix is set to have a major fall. Disney owns Marvel, Pixar Animations, Star Wars, ESPN, and National Geographic; The Simpsons and Modern Family and also a few iconic characters. This means that fans of Marvel and the likes will have to move to Disney+. These guys are the king of content. Netflix has to come up with something big or it might just go under.

Now let’s bring it home. In Nigeria, we have a few online streaming services such as Ibaka TV, Ndani TV, Iroko TV, Iflix, My Filmhouse, Showmax, SOLO view etc. While these platforms offer several streaming services, it’s safe to say that only a few have thought through thoroughly about their future in the business. Nigeria boasts of a robust entertainment industry, a lot of people consume content every day and on several platforms. Cable TV is still very strong in these parts but streaming services are actually catching up fast. In 2014 alone, Nigerians spent 4 billion Naira on video streaming alone and with the cost of data becoming increasingly cheaper, that number has risen and will continue to rise.
Iroko TV is undoubtedly one of the first online streaming service platforms in not just Nigeria but Africa. The company came into the market when online streaming was relatively new and people didn’t really understand it, but since their emergence on December 1st 2011, the company has grown, it’s regarded as the world’s largest legal digital distributor of African movies. Iroko now develops and airs original content and with that introducing new stars into the industry. Iroko also understands the markets, having an online platform in Nigeria is not enough, hence the decision to open terrestrial stations on Cable. With ROK TV 1, 2 and 3 the company is seen as the most preferred platform for African movie content globally.
Dubbed the Netflix of Africa, it can be said that Iroko TV did their homework. With Iroko and ROK TV steadily churning out original content and opening its doors for independent and studio company producers to air their contents, maybe unlike Netflix, they will be here for a very long time.


Credit source: Forbes

Credit Source: Techpoint.afica


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Ose is a cartoon enthusiast sugar junkie. He loves to travel, make new friends and he never gets tired of spaghetti and plantain.

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