In South Africa, British-focused video streaming service Acorn TV has revealed that it will shut down its service in the country by the end of the year.
BMA has seen that the Acorn TV home page in the country currently has a prominent “Important announcement” stating that the service will no longer be available in South Africa.
It directs visitors to a page with more information on the development.
The page further reads, “We regret to inform you Acorn TV will shut down in South Africa by the end of 2022. If you signed up online, please cancel your subscription by going to My Acorn TV and then Manage Account.”
The streaming service did not provide more details as to why it was shutting down in South Africa. Acorn TV is owned by US entertainment company AMC Networks, and in December 2018, it launched in South Africa.
The launch in South Africa formed part of a broader global rollout which included 29 new countries following its availability in the US and Canada.
The service cost US$4.99 per month, but it later revised its price to a rand-denominated fee of US$4.64 per month. It offered a small catalogue of 39 primarily lesser-known series, many from the UK.
While its selection changed over time, data from JustWatch showed that it only had 52 TV shows and six movies, four years after launching locally.
Industry experts believe that the arrival of BBC and ITV’s on-demand streaming service BritBox may have radically eroded Acorn’s value proposition to South Africans.
Britbox offered 141 titles at launch in 2021, substantially more than Acorn TV, at a monthly price of US$5.87. Their library has since grown to 217 titles, while the monthly fee has remained unchanged.
While BritBox does not share its actual subscriber numbers, the streamer’s global CEO, Reemah Sakaan, recently said that the service had been delighted by its reception in South Africa.
Sakaan said, “South Africa has been amongst the most ‘rabid’ in terms of overall volume, hours, and minutes [streamed] of any market in the world. Every time we introduce one of our BritBox Originals, it rockets to the top.”
“We keep breaking our own records regarding the number of hours streamed every month and with every new show launch.”