Video streaming service showdown in South Africa

Prime Video provides South African streaming fans with the best bank for their buck on a price-per-title basis, with the streaming service offering 9,507 titles for R79 per month.

However, Netflix offers just shy of double the number of TV shows as Prime Video, making it a better choice for viewers who prefer that format.

MyBroadband compared Netflix Standard, Prime Video, Showmax, DStv Stream Premium, Apple TV+, and Britbox regarding pricing and the number of movies and series each offers.

Although Prime Video has the most extensive library by far, it is important to consider that a good portion of the titles are foreign programmes, such as Bollywood movies.

Of the 9,507 titles on offer from Prime Video, 1,347 are TV shows, while the remaining 8,160 are movies, according to data from JustWatch.

To put its supremacy regarding the amount of content on offer, Prime Video’s movie catalogue has nearly 2,000 more titles than Netflix’s entire library.

For R159 a month, Netflix offers 6,348 titles — the second-most of the streaming services compared — on its Standard plan, of which 2,528 are TV shows and 3,820 are movies.

However, it should be noted that upgrading to Netflix Premium doesn’t provide more content but rather expands on the number of concurrent streams and the maximum video streaming quality.

Showmax costs R99 monthly and offers 601 TV shows and 1,477 movies, while DStv Stream Premium provides 1,809 titles, split into 680 TV shows and 1,129 movies.

Apple TV+ only broadcasts its own original programming and offers 201 titles for R124.99 per month.

Notable Apple TV originals include Ted Lasso, The Morning Show, Severance, and Tetris.

Similarly, Britbox only offers specialist British programming for R99.99. It provides a total of 219 titles.

We excluded Disney+ from the comparison as JustWatch doesn’t track the streaming service’s content, and counting the titles manually isn’t feasible.

Disney+ costs R139 per month, and at the time of its South African launch in May 2022, it offered more than 1,000 movies, 1,500 library series, and over 200 original series, movies, and specials.

These include movies and series from its first-party franchises and studios like Marvel, Star Wars, Pixar, and Disney Animation.

In South Africa, Disney+ also includes the Star portal, which features content from other studios Disney has acquired, like 21st Century Fox.

The chart below compares the content offerings available from each streaming service.

At R79 monthly for 9,507 titles, Prime Video’s offering works out to less than one cent per title, making it the best bang for buck in South Africa by some margin.

In comparison, Netflix Standard’s price of R159 for 6,348 titles works out to approximately two cents per title.

While Showmax’s library is significantly smaller than Netflix’s, its subscription fee of R99 brings its price per title close to that of Netflix at just under five cents per title.

DStv Stream Premium’s library offers almost 300 fewer titles than Showmax, and its monthly fee of R799 per month works out to a price-per-title of R0.44.

However, DStv Premium also gives you access to SuperSport’s entire slate of live sports coverage and MultiChoice’s linear entertainment channels like M-Net, Kyknet, and Mzansi Magic.

As mentioned, Apple TV+ and Britbox can be considered specialist streaming services. Apple TV+’s catalogue features 201 titles for R124.99 per month, while Britbox provides 219 titles for R99.99.

Their price-per-titles work out to R0.62 and R0.46, respectively.

A price-per-title comparison between Prime Video, Netflix Standard, Showmax, DStv Premium, Apple TV+, and Britbox is summarised in the table below.

Streaming service price-per-title comparison
Platform Titles Price Price per title
Prime Video 9,507 R79.00 R0.01
Netflix Standard 6,348 R159.00 R0.03
Showmax 2,078 R99.00 R0.05
DStv Stream Premium* 1,809 R799.00 R0.44
Apple TV+ 201 R124.99 R0.62
Britbox 219 R99.99 R0.46

 Crackdown on password sharing

Of the streaming services compared, Netflix and DStv Stream have implemented barriers to password sharing in South Africa.

Netflix Standard will allow up to two concurrent streams, provided both are being viewed in the same household.

The global streaming service cracked down on password sharing in South Africa in July 2023. In some markets, the streaming company allows customers to pay an extra member fee for their account to work in other locations.

However, this option doesn’t appear to be coming to South African subscribers.

Netflix said it would start to address account sharing between households in almost all the countries that don’t yet have the policy starting Wednesday, 19 July 2023.

“In these markets, we’re not offering an extra member option,” Netflix said in a letter sent to shareholders.

DStv cracked down on password sharing in March 2022 when it began restricting simultaneous streams to one.

The broadcaster has since introduced the ability to purchase an extra stream for an additional monthly fee. However, it is important to note that the additional stream is mobile only.

The prices for a full month are as follows:

  • Premium — R199
  • Compact Plus — R149
  • Compact — R99
  • Family — R79
  • Access — R49

Now read: YouTube rolling out high bitrate 1080p streaming quality to more users

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Video streaming service showdown in South Africa