You’ve probably already heard about it from the grapevine, but two years after Genevieve Nnaji’s Lionheart broke the mold for Nigerian media content gaining widespread visibility through global streaming platform Netflix, Ebony Life productions (creator of some of the country’s biggest shows like Sons of the Caliphate and Fifty) is moving its flagship legal drama to Netflix.
— Dénola Grey (@DenolaGrey) February 14, 2020
Now this is important for several reasons. One of the the major things Castle and Castle was supposed to do for Ebony Life was launch their dedicated streaming platform, Ebony Life ON. The year was 2018, and everyone with deep pockets (literally everyone) was jumping on the streaming platform. Linda Ikeji launched Linda Ikeji television, DSTV launched Showmax, Funke Akindele launched Scene One and a host of other smaller streaming platforms contested for the attention of a small but influential elite who wanted their streaming on the go.
For Ebony Life, the catalyst for their streaming platform was platform specific, exclusive original content with big names, similar to the formula they had used to break box office records in traditional cinema. We cannot know if the gamble worked, Ebony Life ON did become a contender and Castle and Castle, with its diverse mix of emerging and established talent did pique interest in the show. Eventually Sons of the Caliphate the company’s other shows were moved to the streaming platform as well.
It’s transition to Netflix feels like stamp of validation, proof that the show indeed has the mettle to attract and keep a global audience. We sincerely hope it does well and finds a cult audience so it can open doors for other Nigerian television show runners, looking to tell Nigerian stories to a global audience.
Edwin Okolo is an author and journalist who has worked with YNaija, TheNativemag and the Naked Convos.