In recent weeks that has been an uproar after Netflix announced their consumers sharing their password with friends and family in other households may soon pay an extra fee.
The move comes as Netflix has stated that account sharing between households impacts the company’s ability to invest in new TV shows and movies.
DStv also caught a lot of fire from subscribers when they announced that they now have a one-device-at-a-time streaming policy. The new policy, which came in effect last month, will allow only one device to stream on the DStv Now at a time.
So now with all these changes happening with streaming services and prices increases, it’s time to check which service provides the best value for money.
With so many new and exciting streaming platforms available and jostling for market space, viewers are suddenly spoilt for choice.
There was a time, not so long ago, when the online streaming service Netflix, seemed like the automatic choice when you were looking to kick back and watch something.
Popular phrases like “Netflix and Chill”, “Netflexting” (when you and a friend are texting each other while watching the same show in different locations) and “Netflastinate” (when you are using Netflix to procrastinate) mushroomed over time and became common urban lexicon.
Netflix was, essentially, a term used as shorthand for streaming.
It's not all about Netflix now, and with the popular platform gradually losing legacy and back catalogue titles to other streaming platforms (Peacock recently took The Office and Friends went to Showmax), viable options are aplenty.
Sure, it is still the biggest and most dominant streaming entertainment service with over 222 million paid memberships in over 190 countries, but there are some great alternatives out there worth considering. And deciding where to subscribe for the best content seems like it’s only going to get harder.
Netflix's standard plan is R159 per month, which allows two screens to watch simultaneously, as well as downloads on two devices.
Recently Disney+, the streaming service from The Walt Disney Company, confirmed dates for 42 countries set to launch this winter. One of these countries is South Africa. The streaming service will launch here on 18 May, with pricing set at R119 per month, or R1 190 for an annual subscription.
Disney+ offers access to high-quality viewing for up to four concurrent streams and unlimited downloads on up to ten devices.
This includes the ability for parents to set Kids Profiles that allow them to access age-appropriate content.
Disney+ will bring to the table some exclusive original content and thousands of episodes and movies from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. Subscribers will have access to popular films such as Star Wars’ “The Book of Boba Fett” and “The Mandalorian”, Marvel Studios’ series “Moon Knight”, as well as Academy Award®-nominated “Shang-Chi and the Legend of The Ten Rings”.
Subscribers will also be able to watch renowned titles including “The Simpsons”, “Queens”, “The Kardashians” and National Geographic's “The World According To Jeff Goldblum” Even prior to its launch in South Africa, it is already Netflix's biggest competitor, globally.
Apple TV +
Then there’s Apple TV+. While it has probably the most limited library of all the other platforms listed here, it can also boast about being the only platform with 100% original content.
Apple TV+ offers a seven-day free trial, after which monthly subscription will cost you R84.99.
For a limited time, customers who purchase and activate a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod touch can enjoy three months of Apple TV+ for free, which is a nice touch.
“Coda”, which won the prestigious Best Picture award at this year’s Oscars, is available exclusively on the platform.
For those looking for Hulu shows, they are in luck as Amazon Prime also houses these titles. However, Amazon Prime has an impressive slate, where viewers can enjoy Amazon Originals such as “The Boys”, “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan”, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”, “The Grand Tour” and “Modern Love” for R79 per month. Amazon Prime also offers a 7-day free trial.
Last year, eTV launched eVOD, its own streaming platform which features an impressive repertoire of local productions.
Their AVOD content is available to all their viewers for free, while their premium content is available as a subscription model (SVOD), with users able to choose between daily (R5), weekly (R15) and monthly options (R29.99).
Then there’s Viu, which is available in 16 markets including Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bahrain, Egypt and South Africa.
Viu offers an ad-supported tier and a premium subscription tier.
Rich in local content, Viu is home to some Mzansi favourites like “Scandal”, “Uzalo”, “Muvhango”, “7de Laan” and “Skeem Saam”.
Viu charges as follows: R5/day, R29/month (with ads) and R69 for Viu premium, which comes with access to all its content.
Showmax is the second most popular streaming service in SA. “What sets Showmax apart is a unique combination of hit African content, first and exclusive international series, premium documentaries, and the best kids’ shows,” the platform says.
“Showmax Pro adds music, news and live sport from SuperSport. For a single monthly fee, you get unlimited access.”
New customers get a 14-day free trial. After the trial period, it costs R39 per month. Prepaid plans start from R79 for 3 months.
Notably, Showmax is free for DStv premium subscribers, while Showmax Free allows you to watch selected series and movies for free with adverts.
You can watch Showmax on up to five different devices at the same time. Local series “The Wife” is currently one of its most popular titles.
Showmax is also home to some old favourites such as “The Sopranos” and “The Lord of the Rings”.
Last year, after making its mark in the United States, UK, Canada and Australia with over two million global subscriptions, British platform Britbox launched in SA.
The platform offers the best of British programming with exclusive titles such as “Line of Duty” season six, “Professor T” and “Wedding of the Century”.
Neale Dennett – New Markets Launch Director, BritBox International, says the platform has been adjusting to accommodate SA’s specific needs:
“We’ve found that we’ve needed to launch on new devices to meet the specific requirements of the South African audience. We’ve now also launched on Android TV and Hisense TV.
“We’ve also tailored our content even more to the SA audience, for example, we know they really liked ’Crime’ (an Irvine Welsh BritBox Original) so we’ll be commissioning more content like this such as ’Sanditon’ Season 2 which will launch in May.”
As you can see, there are several noteworthy platforms (some not listed here) for you to consider.
Your decision is likely to be impacted not just by cost, but by what type of content you are interested in, the type of original content on offer, and other factors like kids and the taste of others you live with or will be sharing with.
Take your pick.