If there’s one thing South Africa is good at, it’s having a good time. The nationwide entertainment industry is currently booming, with revenues predicted to hit R170.5 billion next year, up from R128.9 billion just four years ago. When it comes to entertainment, South Africans are spending more, investing more, and trying more new things. Let’s take a look at some of the fascinating insights that explain the runaway growth of the South African entertainment industry.
The South African film industry has been hailed as a success story, rapidly emerging to become one of the continent’s premier hubs for filmmaking. Last year, there were a near-record 109 domestically produced films, generating local box office revenues of R126.6 million.
Almost 20,000 people are now employed in the film industry, which contributes over R1 billion to the country’s GDP every single year. Some major productions that made a splash internationally last year at box cinemas and streaming platforms include the heist movie Blue Mauritius and the drama film Moffie, based on the bestselling novel of the same name by Andre Carl van der Merwe.
After a difficult couple of years for South Africa’s music scene, it has once again returned to growth, posting revenues of R456 million last year, with 2022 expected to be even bigger. South Africa remains the largest music market on the continent by a wide margin, with streaming platforms such as Spotify and Simfy Africa driving much of the recent growth.
On the world stage, talented artists such as Master KG, Nasty C, and Kabza de Small have attracted some of the largest international followings on these streaming platforms. Meanwhile, the return of some of South Africa’s biggest music festivals looks set to fill coffers further, with fans flying in from across the world to attend high-profile events such as Cape Town Carnival, Up the Creek, and Ultra South Africa.
Casinos and gambling have long been a fixture on the South African entertainment scene, thanks to major hubs such as Sun City which have long served as popular vacation hotspots on the continent for those looking to play a few rounds of poker or roulette in a luxurious setting. Interestingly, online gambling is poised to be the next major driver of the domestic industry, responsible for $2.3 billion in revenue last year, making the country Africa’s largest gambling market by far.
In the future, novel technologies in online gambling look set to drive future growth. For example, a number of casino platforms now offer immersive roulette, where players can spin a real roulette wheel from the comfort of their home, all via a live video uplink. The growing trend of so-called “live casino” gaming could have a significant impact on the industry in South Africa, as consumer habits change.
By all accounts, South Africa’s vibrant entertainment industry is well and truly back. If growth continues at current rates, entertainment could soon form a significant portion of the national economy.