Prominent streaming service to shut down in South Africa

BritBox has announced its plans to shut down in South Africa three years after it launched in the country.

The company confirmed to MyBroadband that it will leave the country in August 2024. It said customers would have until then to catch up on much-loved shows.

This comes as the company switches its focus to its more established markets around the globe. BBC Studios and iTV run the streaming service.

Some may have noticed the writing on the wall when BritBox emailed South African subscribers to announce that it was dropping its annual subscription option.

“On your next subscription renewal, you’ll automatically renew as a monthly subscriber and pay R99.99 per month. No additional action on your part is required,” the company said in a notice sent to annual subscribers on 2 May 2024.

The streaming service officially launched in South Africa on 6 August 2021, offering subscribers access to a variety of British series and movies.

This includes content from the UK’s four main public service broadcasters — BBC, iTV, Channel 4, and Channel 5.

Customers in the country could opt to pay R99.99 monthly or R999.99 annually, with the company providing a 7-day free trial for users to experience the service before committing.

Notable titles offered at launch included Blackadder, Fawlty Towers, Inspector Morse, Mr Bean, The Midwife, The Office, and Wedding of the Century.

The decision to pull out of South Africa may surprise some, as the company has previously described the service as “blooming” and said South African streamers are among the service’s most avid users.

In May 2022, the company said its South African library and subscriber base was growing.

“Although we don’t share subscriber numbers at a territory-specific level, South Africa is contributing to the 2.5 million international subscriber number that we announced during our Nordics launch last month,” said Neale Dennett, BritBox International’s new markets launch director.

Then, in September 2022, BritBox’s global CEO, Reemah Sakaan, described its South African customers as its most “rabid” viewers.

“South Africa has been amongst the most ‘rabid’ in terms of overall volume, hours, and minutes [streamed] of any market in the world,” Sakaan said.

“Every time we introduce one of our BritBox Originals, it rockets to the top.”

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Prominent streaming service to shut down in South Africa