Johannesburg – Television shows such as House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and Grey’s Anatomy are unavailable on Netflix in South Africa owing to content rights.
This is according to a response from Netflix, which launched in South Africa on Wednesday night as part of its global expansion to 130 countries.
South Africa joined the likes of Nigeria, South Korea, Vietnam and Azerbaijan in acquiring the service on Wednesday.
Netflix enables South Africans to watch popular shows such as Suits, Dexter and Weeds.
But some South African users who signed up for the service soon realised that certain content was missing.
“Signed up to Netflix, but certain shows like House of Cards are not available to the SA subscriber. Very weird,” wrote Grant Medefindt in an email to Fin24.
House of Cards is one of Netflix’s original shows that is available on the US version of the streaming service. But broadcast networks across the world have also signed up rights to the show.
In one instance, South African television channel M-Net, which is part of DStv, has aired House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and Grey’s Anatomy.
Netflix then explained to Fin24 that content rights prevent it from offering its whole range of shows and movies in all parts of the world.
“Many of our originals are licensed on a global basis and are available everywhere for members to watch,” Netflix’s public relations team told Fin24.
“With the likes of House of Cards, we didn’t negotiate global licences to the content and so the rights sit with other platforms. We may get them back in some of our new markets, but have nothing further to announce at this moment,” Netflix told Fin24.
The company further said that its goal is to “offer a fully global service with a global catalogue” but that it may take time to offer all its content everywhere in the world.
“The world of content licensing has traditionally been very fragmented and regionalised,” Netflix told Fin24.
“It will take some time, several years at least, to get to an offering that’s the same everywhere,” the company said.
In the meantime, Netflix said it plans to expand its content for South Africa as the service grows locally.
Globally, the company is also set to spend about $5bn on programming rights in 2016 which will include securing titles that will be exclusive to Netflix.
This is expected to include over 30 new Netflix original series, or seasons of existing series, and more than 10 original films, the company told Fin24.