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Netflix vs Disney+ vs Prime Video vs Showmax - from cost to content, everything you need to know

FRANCE, PARIS, 2022-01-25. Illustration of laptop, ipad and computer screens with popular streaming sites like Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video. Photography by Riccardo Milani / Hans Lucas

FRANCE, PARIS, 2022-01-25. Illustration of laptop, ipad and computer screens with popular streaming sites like Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video. Photography by Riccardo Milani / Hans Lucas

Published Apr 19, 2022


Johannesburg - South Africans will be more than spoilt for choice with video streaming content as the highly anticipated Disney+ streaming service has begun the countdown to its launch in the country.

The launch of Disney+ on May 18 will mark the latest in several video-on-demand over-the-top streaming services introduced in South Africa.

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After the launch of Disney+ globally on November 19, 2019, content owned by the Walt Disney Company slowly began disappearing from platforms like Netflix and Showmax.

Since its global launch, Disney+ has been highly anticipated by locals. Run by the Walt Disney Company, Disney+ features content from its production houses, which umbrellas the likes of Marvel and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Star Wars franchise, Pixar and National Geographic.

The introduction of Disney+ means that South Africans will now have access to new and older content from the company’s production houses, which are currently unavailable on streaming platforms for locals.

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Despite this, local streaming content has already been bolstered by Netflix, Showmax and Amazon Prime, among others.

While content varies from platform to platform, consumers who purchase subscriptions to each of the services incrementally raise the cost of their entertainment.

Scores of viewers have lambasted digital TV offerings in the past, such as the bashing dished out to viewers by DStv, whose premium packages are listed on its website as starting from R799.

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However, the cost of unlimited internet access and subscription fees to each of the available streaming services - will likely now exceed the price of a digital TV subscription.

This now poses scores of questions… Which package is right for you? Do you need them all? And, how much are you going to fork out? IOL Wealth is here to help you make a more informed choice.


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Firmly entrenching itself as a favourite among locals with loads of international and exclusive local content, Netflix has been a hit since its introduction to SA back in January 2016. With localised content such as the globally popular Blood and Water teen series and franchise favourites like The Kandasamys, Netflix has also announced plans to pump funding into the local film industry.

What you can watch: Netflix plays home to scores of its original productions like the Breaking Bad series and, of course, new, popular local content. The service makes for a versatile offering but lacks a lot of content from other production houses like Walt Disney and HBO.

What it costs: Netflix can be streamed on a smartphone, tablet, Smart TV, or laptop for one fixed monthly fee ranging from R49 to R199 a month.


Showmax has always aimed to make local lekker, being the first video streaming service to be launched in the country, pipping rival plans by Netflix. The ultra-premium offer of its service makes for an excellent choice in sidestepping exorbitant digital satellite subscriptions.

What you can watch: As part of its highest package offering, Showmax viewers can stream live sport, a massive bonus for those looking to ditch the remote for a mouse. Aside from this, the service offers scores of local productions but not a wide span of international films and series when stacked against competitors.

What it costs: While free for those with an active DStv subscription, two package options are available at R39 for a base subscription and R225 for Showmax Pro, making it the most expensive streaming service.

Prime Video

Prime Video, by Amazon, quietly entered the local market and offered South Africans a taste of its content before its local launch. Despite its blockbuster offerings, such as Will Smith’s Hancock and Bad Boys, Prime Video doesn’t quite slap the competition, given its lack of local content on the platform.

What you can watch: Prime Video plays home to content from HBO, like the comic-based series The Boys and other movies.

What it costs: Amazon Prime Video is available for R79 per month.


Coming to SA on May 18, Disney+ will offer its viewers exclusive Disney content from its production houses and highly-rated movies and series.

What you can watch: Fans of Marvel and Star Wars movies are in for a treat with the entire MCU and Lucas Films available.

What it costs: Viewers who subscribe before May 31, 2022 can pay R950 for an annual subscription as part of its introductory promotion. Meanwhile, the service will cost R119 per month.

How much you can expect to pay to have it all

While the cost of internet packages varies, all streaming platforms recommend an unlimited internet package. At the same time, many suggest a 10MB to 20MB speed being sufficient for a stable HD video stream.

Meanwhile, despite the streaming service or line speed, at home or through a shared internet access point, playback quality is also dependent on the number of devices linked simultaneously.

A decent internet line sufficient for around four users can cost upward of R700, whether fibre or LTE.

Meanwhile, the total of premium subscription packages from Netflix, Showmax, Prime Video and Disney+ will fetch a price tag of R622 without an internet connection and, when coupled with the data cost, exceed the cost of digital TV subscriptions.

IOL Wealth