E-tv’s eVOD and MultiChoice’s Showmax video streaming services are some of the best South Africans can use without paying a monthly subscription fee.
The most popular international video streaming services — including Netflix and Amazon Prime Video — are funded through monthly subscription fees.
Many South Africans cannot afford or don’t want to pay these fees in addition to the money they have to spend on data to have the content streamed to their devices.
Fortunately, many streaming services with paid options also offer free tiers.
Just like YouTube, however, these services are funded by ads, so if that’s a deal-breaker for you, you will have to cough up the money for a subscription service.
Below are some of the best-known free video streaming services available in South Africa.
DStv’s free streaming service is minimal, offering only eight of the linear channels available on its paid-for packages through your browser or in DStv’s mobile app.
One positive of this offering is that you can watch one of South Africa’s most popular news channels — eNCA.
The only on-demand content available at the time of writing was five episodes from sports programmes.
E-tv recently launched eVOD with MTN as technology partner, featuring E-tv’s free-to-air content including soaps and telenovelas as well as local and Hollywood movies.
eVOD offers over 2,500 hours of content at launch, although some of this will be off-limits to free users.
eMedia Investments CEO Khalik Sherrif said that eVOD will feature hundreds of movies at launch and aimed to add at least 10 original movies every year.
The free tier of TelkomONE offers 18 linear channels, including free-to-air SABC channels, several international news channels, and religious channels.
There are also many pre-recorded shows and sports matches from the SABC and Deutsche Welle (DW) documentaries available on demand.
Showmax launched its free offering in November 2020, bringing some of MultiChoice’s most popular series on DStv to its streaming service.
On offer is a range of shows from local channels like Mzansi Magic and kykNET.
This includes telenovas like Binnelanders, Suidooster, Isitembiso, and The Throne.
Some of South Africa’s most popular TV dramas like Gomora, The River, Life With Kelly Khumalo and Tali’s Baby Diary are also available.
There is also a large selection of local independent movies, sports magazine shows, and talk shows.
Plex, a popular media server application, also offers a library of free movies.
Most of its titles available in South Africa appear to be obscure classics and new low-budget movies.
If you have a VPN, the free tier of NBC’s Peacock streaming service is one of the best available.
It boasts a large library that includes hit sitcoms like The Office, Modern Family, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks and Recreation, and TV dramas such as Bates Motel, Dr Death, Yellowstone, Suits, and Downton Abbey.
Popular movies in the catalogue include franchises like the Bourne series, The Hunger Games, Harry Potter, The Godfather, and American Pie.
Live TV channels include Sky News, NBC News Now, NBC Sports, True Crime, and WWE.