Streaming has become more popular in South Africa, and there are three main players in this market – Netflix, Showmax, and Prime Video.
Each of these platforms offers thousands of great movies and series to South African viewers, as well as great value for money.
However, many South Africans are not willing to pay for all three of these services and instead opt to sign up for only one of these options.
The right choice will depend on what you find most important in a streaming service.
All three of these services offer an extensive range of movies and TV series, but there are clear winners and losers when it comes to content.
If you prefer to watch movies, Amazon’s Prime Video has by far the largest range of movies of the three services, with 11,710 films to choose from.
Netflix is far behind Prime Video with 3,589 movies, while Showmax brings up the rear with 1,113 movies.
These figures are taken from JustWatch – a content aggregator for streaming services available in specific countries.
Showmax is again the service with the lowest choice of TV series – offering 434 choices to its customers.
Prime Video offers 1,283 series, but Netflix is the winner in this category with 1,827 options.
The numbers alone may not tell the full story, however.
For example, Showmax may have the smallest catalogue of content, but it has a large range of South African movies and shows – which may appeal more to local viewers.
The table below shows the movies and TV series available on Netflix, Showmax, and Prime Video at the time of writing.
|Streaming Platform||Movies||TV Series|
While content is important, many South Africans may prefer the service that offers them the best streaming quality or uses the least data.
In terms of streaming quality, Netflix offers 4K streaming for its most expensive package – Premium – at the cost of R169 per month.
The Standard package offers 1080p streaming, while both Netflix Mobile and Netflix Basic offer 480p streaming.
Amazon Prime Video offers a single subscription option which costs $5.99 per month and supports 4K streaming.
Showmax, however, only offers customers HD quality on its most expensive package – which costs R99 per month.
|Streaming package comparison|
|Package||Max streaming quality||Simultaneous streams||Price pm|
|Showmax Mobile||SD (Mobile only)||1||R49|
|Prime Video||4K||3||R91.37 ($5.99)|
One area where Showmax has an advantage is that it offers packages which include live sport.
Showmax Pro Mobile and ShowMax Pro offer the full suite of Showmax content as well as 24-hour news channels and an extensive range of sport, including:
- English Premier League
- Serie A
- UEFA Champions League
The full list can be viewed in the FAQs on Showmax’s website.
Pricing for these packages is as follows:
|Showmax Pro packages|
|Package||Max streaming quality||Simultaneous streams||Additional benefits||Price|
|Showmax Pro Mobile||SD (Mobile only)||1||24-hour news channels, live sport||R225|
|Showmax Pro||HD||2||24-hour news channels, live sport||R449|
Amazon Prime subscription
A unique benefit of Prime Video is that it can be acquired as part of the greater Amazon Prime package, which offers a number of additional benefits including:
- Free Amazon delivery
- Exclusive Amazon deals
- Free video games, in-game items, and a free Twitch channel subscription.
- Amazon Music
- Thousands of free books, magazines, comics, and Kindle Singles.
It is worth noting that the shopping benefits are significantly more beneficial to US customers, where Amazon has a larger ecommerce presence than in South Africa.
Amazon Prime costs $119 per year or $12.99 per month.