Netflix upgrading its library with original shows from Africa in 2019

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In the new year, Netflix plans to order original shows from Africa, Variety reports. So far, the global streaming network’s international markets have expanded to markets such as Asia, Europe, and Latin America.

“The big message we want to communicate to talent is you don’t have to leave home to get big audiences, and you don’t have to choose Hollywood versus your own country,” said Erik Barmack, the streaming giant’s vice president of international originals.

“You can do both, and that, we believe, will be able to carry their audiences to their shows regardless of the language they are speaking or where the production comes from.”

Netflix wants to expand its global showcase of shows and is “in the process of looking at opportunities in Africa. It’s definitely the case that we’ll commission some series there in…2019,” Barmack said at the Content London conference this week.

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“There’s going to come a time when half of the top 10 of most-watched shows in a given year are going to come from outside of the U.S.,” Barmack said. “I don’t think that’s very actually far away. I think that’s going to come in years, not decades.”

“There is so much interest in the storytelling here that if you have multiple choices from platforms, that’s a great place to be,” he said. “If you are a producer with an exciting project, this is a great moment in television history for you.”

“We’re able to release shows in fairly consistent windows around the world, and what that means is our members are able to participate in social conversations all at the same time, which is spurring interest in these shows,” he said. “We’ve seen a huge advantage to having global distribution, mostly because it gives the show the best chance of success – that everyone is talking about the show at the same time.”

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By year’s end, Netflix will launch six new European shows including a period drama and a “Young Wallander” series. Barmack said it is working to increase the company’s Europe-originated story menu by a third in 2019.

“There’s 500 million people around the world who speak Arabic, and there’s a real opportunity to put different faces and a different type of programming [together] to get away from the traditional Ramadan shows, for example,” Barmack said at the London gathering.