International streaming giant Netflix is taking on MultiChoice’s Showmax with its own affordable subscription for mobile devices in South Africa.
Netflix officially launched its mobile-only plan to the general public last week, following months of testing two possible options for introduction into the market.
The company said it considers Sub-Saharan Africa to be “mobile-first”, as many people in this region are using mobile devices for accessing online entertainment.
“South African people already watch two times more Netflix on smartphones compared to the rest of the world,” Netflix stated. “This is why it was a priority for us to bring the mobile plan here.”
At its R49 price point, the service will be competing with Showmax’s own mobile-only plan.
Showmax Mobile has been around since November 2019, when it initially launched at the same R49 monthly price.
A few months after Netflix began testing two possible mobile plans in the country, however, it dropped this to R39.
Since many customers considering a product in this category won’t be able to afford both services, we’ve compared them to help you choose the package best suited to your needs.
While there is also a mobile version of the Showmax Pro subscription, which adds live sports, news, and music channels, it is much more expensive at R225 per month, which means it will not be considered in our comparison.
Netflix Mobile and Showmax Mobile only allow for directly streaming on smartphones and tablets.
This means you won’t be able to watch movies or TV shows on an app or via a browser on your laptop, desktop, or TV.
Netflix Mobile has a slight advantage, with its streaming quality capped at 520p, while Showmax Mobile is limited to 480p resolution.
The difference between these two resolutions should be mostly negligible on a smartphone display but could be noticeable on tablet screens.
Another area to consider is the number of devices which you are allowed to use on these services.
Showmax Mobile allows for only one registered device, which can be changed up to eight times per year. In contrast, Netflix lets you link up as many devices as you want.
However, both services only permit streaming on one device at a time.
The other important distinction is in the libraries of content you will be able to watch.
Content-wise, you will be getting the same titles as on the standard subscriptions.
According to JustWatch, Showmax’s library included 1,165 movies and 538 TV shows, putting its total at 1,703 titles.
This ails in comparison with Netflix’s 5,483 titles, comprising 3,527 movies and 1,956 TV shows.
While it should be noted that JustWatch does not count Showmax’s original South African and African titles towards its total, these are unlikely to bring its number much closer to Netflix’s catalogue.
Nevertheless, if you enjoy home-grown shows and movies then Showmax will be your best choice, though Netflix has stepped up its investment in African-made content.
The table below compares the features, libraries, device allowances, and prices of Netflix Mobile and Showmax Mobile.
|Netflix Mobile vs Showmax Mobile|
|Netflix Mobile||Showmax Mobile|
|Maximum streaming quality||520p||480p|
|Supported devices||Smartphone, tablet||Smartphone, tablet|
|Number of devices for streaming||Unlimited||1|
|Number of devices for downloads||1||1|
|Library size*||5,483 titles||
|* Figures provided by JustWatch as of 6 July 2021. Showmax’s local content is not included.|