Netflix vs ShowMax – South African price showdown

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.

MTN has since slashed FrontRow’s price to R119 per month, while Vidi has introduced a number of new pricing tiers.

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.

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Netflix vs ShowMax – South African price showdown