JustWatch, a search engine for TV shows and movies available through online streaming, recently launched in South Africa.
The service contains the catalogues of Netflix, ShowMax, iTunes, Google Play, DStv BoxOffice, and Mubi.
It lets you search for specific titles, and then lists each of the services that has the movie or show you’re looking for – along with the associated cost.
An example is shown in the screenshot below.
While JustWatch does not offer a side-by-side comparison, it does provide a count of the number of titles available on each service:
- Netflix ZA: 672 titles
- ShowMax: 668 titles
- iTunes ZA: 3,447 titles
- Google Play ZA: 1,565 titles
- DStv BoxOffice: 173 titles
- Mubi: 34 titles
JustWatch said its title counts may differ from those of other search engines because its internal matching algorithm is very strict, so as to not show false positives.
It also said that although it doesn’t provide a side-by-side comparison of services, it does have an internal tool that shows the overlap of the catalogues of different subscription services in a country.
Due to its strict matching algorithm, JustWatch said the 44 movie overlap shown below isn’t 100% accurate – but it does show that the overlap between ShowMax and Netflix is minimal.
In addition to JustWatch, a few other sites have done comparisons on the Netflix catalogues in South Africa and the US.
South African developer Matt Cavanagh compared Netflix’s US and South African catalogues to ShowMax when the streaming service launched locally.
While the local Netflix and ShowMax catalogues are dwarfed by the US Netflix service, there are a handful of movies and shows available in South Africa that you can’t get in the US.
Both Netflix and ShowMax are growing their video libraries in South Africa a few titles at a time every month, and Netflix has said it hopes to eliminate the issue of regional licensing in time.
“We have a ways to go before we can offer people the same films and TV series everywhere,” said Netflix.
“In the meantime, we will continue to respect and enforce content licensing by geographic location.”