Online streaming giant Netflix is making strides to push for more international content — starting with their African Originals initiative. Neflix’s CEO Ted Sarandos and a team of the company’s high-level executives have spent the last week traveling across Africa to recruit local creators and develop plans to position the continent as a new hub for entertainment content. As the Head of African Originals for the streaming service, Dorothy Ghettuba has led the charge to create fresh visual content for Netflix that brings a spotlight to African stories while attracting a global audience.
The award-winning Kenyan film producer had plans to commission for more African original shows in 2019 and this year these plans are finally able to see the light of day.
“It’s been an exciting week to crisscross the continent and be reaffirmed that we really have stories to tell,” Ghettuba told Variety when asked about the company’s trip to Africa.
The online entertainment company most recently premiered their first African-original series, “Queen Sono,” worldwide this past Friday. The spy thriller series received a great push from the platform and started a dialogue amongst viewers.
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In addition to “Queen Sono,” the streaming platform has shared details for more upcoming projects from countries like Nigeria and South Africa. Netflix has also expressed interest in Kenya, and although Ghettuba shared that she sees “promise” in these plans, they’re still in the early stages.
“We know that Africa is a wide region…but we really have to be very deliberate in our approach,” she said about Netflix’s developing plans. “We are trying to find the best way to work, and we are learning along the way. Can we do better? Can we better? That’s really the objective for our company, and we are learning from our partners (and) taking it one step at a time.”
Since being appointed head of the streamer’s African Originals team, Ghettuba has tackled practical challenges that come with being a producer, but she also notes that African creators are known for adapting and are more than capable of capitalizing on this ever-expanding global market.
“The challenges are not unique to Africa,” she said. “We have come across great creatives and great producers who have, for the longest while, been working with what they have, and now we give them the opportunity with this platform and this backing from this company to really do their best.”
Ghettuba and her team have set out to do groundbreaking work to introduce unique African content to the global marketplace and are exploring new ways to bring these stories to life.