Naspers recently launched ShowMax, a Netflix-like subscription video on demand service which offers a range of TV shows and movies for a monthly fee of R99.
At launch, ShowMax said it had over over 19,000 TV show episodes from 750 different series, including 850 complete seasons.
ShowMax also has a catalogue of around 400 movies on offer, which will expand over time.
This is a significant launch offering, if you compare ShowMax to Vidi and MTN FrontRow – which entered the South African market in 2014.
However, compared to Netflix’s US catalogue, ShowMax’s offering still looks pretty small.
Although Netflix may not technically be available in South Africa, this hasn’t stopped locals from bypassing its regional restrictions and subscribing to the service.
Legal experts told MyBroadband that bypassing its geoblocking mechanisms is probably illegal, but not criminal. However, experts said it is unlikely those infringing SA’s copyright laws in this way would be prosecuted.
This means MTN (FrontRow), Times Media Group (Vidi), and Naspers (ShowMax) are competing against Netflix in South Africa.
While South Africans would typically go for the US Netflix package priced at $7.99 per month for a single-stream standard definition service, or $8.99 for a dual-stream high definition service, it is worth noting that not all regions have the same amount of content.
Netlifx in the UK, for example, only had 3,216 titles when counted on 24 August 2015.
When Netflix launched in Australia and New Zealand in 2015, it had an eighth of the titles on offer in the US.
According to tech writer Kenneth Tsang, Netflix Australia and New Zealand launched with 1,326 titles – around 176 more than ShowMax launched with in South Africa.
The table below compares how the streaming services available in South Africa compare to one another, and to Netflix US.
The price of a Netflix HD subscription was used for the comparison as it matches the type of services ShowMax, Vidi, and FrontRow offer.
It is worth noting that number of episodes, movies, series, and titles for ShowMax and Vidi are from estimates provided by the companies.
MTN did not respond to requests for comment, so we counted the number of titles on the service as advertised on its website.
|Additional costs||R63.36 ($4.95) for unblocker||R0||R0||R0|
|Movie rentals||N/A||N/A||R15 / R27||R15 / R27|
|Content||7,871 titles||1,150+ titles
|Bonus SA features||—||—||Free ADSL data||Free streaming on MTN|
|* Using R12.80 per USD, all pricing excludes data costs.|