Online digital movie rental and sales finally arrived in South Africa in 2012 with MultiChoice and Apple both commercially launching digital film services locally.
MultiChoice had been trialling its DStv BoxOffice Online service since 2011 and finally took it out of beta just months before iTunes came to South Africa.
South Africa was among 56 countries to receive the iTunes Store on 4 December 2012, though initially only music had been added to the local catalogue of digital content.
On 12 December 2012 the “Films” category opened up, letting users rent or buy movies in high definition (HD) or standard format (SD).
DStv BoxOffice, on the other hand, only has a 48-hour rental option and no HD content.
The table below compares a few of the titles available on the services, indicating that while there is overlap there are also a number of movies that are only available on either iTunes or BoxOffice.
Where there is overlap, pricing is pretty much the same. However, DStv Premium subscribers can typically get SD movie rentals for R5 cheaper than iTunes users or those that use BoxOffice online without a top-tier DStv subscription.
It’s also worth noting that the online version of DStv BoxOffice is available to non-subscribers, so no additional subscription fees need to be factored into the online pricing below.
DStv also doesn’t host content indefinitely, and when content is flagged “expired” in the table it means it is no longer available to Premium subscribers through their DStv PVR.
Those titles that have expired on PVR are typically only available for a short while online before being taken down there too.
|Movie||iTunes: Buy||iTunes: Rent||BoxOffice Online: Rent||BoxOffice PVR: Rent|
|Brave||R150 (HD) / R120 (SD)||R40 (HD) / R30 (SD)||R30||R25|
|Hunger Games, The||R150 (HD) / R130 (SD)||R40 (HD) / R30 (SD)||R30||Expired|
|Dark Knight Rises, The||N/A||N/A||R30||R25|
|V for Vendetta||N/A||N/A||R10||Expired|
|Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter||R140 (SD)||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|Mary Poppins||R140 (HD) / R110 (SD)||R30 (HD) / R20 (HD)||N/A||N/A|
|South African titles|
|Semi-Soet||R130 (HD) / R100 (SD)||R40 (HD) / R30 (SD)||N/A||N/A|
|Otelo Burning||R150 (HD) / R130 (SD)||R40 (HD) / R30 (SD)||N/A||N/A|
|Liefling die Movie||R100 (HD) / R70 (SD)||R40 (HD) / R30 (SD)||N/A||N/A|