ShowMax, a Netflix competitor from Naspers, is set to launch in SA on 19 August – with free and R99 per month pricing tiers.
The launch of ShowMax will bring the number of streaming video on demand (VOD) services in South Africa to three, following the launch of Vidi and MTN FrontRow in 2014.
Vidi, from Times Media Group, launched during September at a monthly price of R149; while MTN FrontRow launched in December for R179 per month.
Despite being the only subscription VOD services to have launched in South Africa, this hasn’t stopped locals from accessing region-blocked VOD platforms Netflix and Hulu.
Using DNS-based unblocking services and virtual private networks, many South Africans circumvent the geographic blocks on Netflix and Hulu to access the services locally.
Legal experts told MyBroadband that bypassing geoblocking mechanisms is probably illegal. However, experts said it is unlikely those infringing SA’s copyright laws in this way would be prosecuted.
This means MTN, Times Media Group, and Naspers are competing against Netflix and Hulu in South Africa.
The pricing of these streaming services are compared in the table below.
|Service||Price||Quality (up to)||Platforms|
|Netflix SD *||R166.28||480p SD||Everywhere|
|Netflix HD *||R179.13||1080p HD||Everywhere|
|Hulu *||Free||720p HD||Everywhere|
|Hulu Plus *||R166.28||720p HD||Everywhere|
|ShowMax Basic||Free||720p HD||Desktop, Android, iOS, Samsung, LG|
|ShowMax Premium||R99||720p HD||Desktop, Android, iOS, Samsung, LG|
|Vidi Unlimited Subscription||R149||720p HD||Desktop, Android, iOS, Samsung|
|MTN FrontRow Club||R119||720p HD||Desktop, Android, iOS|
|R/$ = R12.85, * Netflix and Hulu prices include cost of unblocking service at $4.95 p/m.|