Recent analysis has shown that South Africans have many home-grown video streaming services to choose from, and three major ones carry most of the content that enjoys some widespread appeal.
These streaming services are eVOD, SABC+, and Showmax, each owned by one of the country’s leading television broadcasters.
MultiChoice’s Showmax video streaming service is one of the oldest on-demand streaming services available to South Africans.
It launched in August 2015, a year before streaming giant Netflix arrived in the country. Since then, it has expanded to 45 African countries and 33 countries beyond the continent.
Showmax features local and international content, most of which is the same as MultiChoice produces or licences for its DStv satellite service.
For the past few years, MultiChoice has reported significant increases in Showmax numbers in its financial results.
However, the broadcaster has indicated that determining the actual number of Showmax subscribers in South Africa is difficult, as the broadcaster only reports percentage increases.
Digital TV Research previously estimated that Showmax had accumulated approximately 861,000 subscribers by the end of 2021 — a figure it forecasted would grow to 1.08 million a year later.
Experience broadcasters become young streaming rivals
eMedia — which owns and runs e.tv-branded channels — launched its on-demand streaming service called eVOD in August 2021. A year later, it had amassed over half a million subscribers on the platform.
eVOD says it offers over 3,000 hours of content across its local and international catalogues. These include its popular soaps and TV shows, dubbed Afrikaans telenovelas, and relatively old and lesser-known Hollywood movies.
The latter lets you view up to five episodes of a soap or telenovela before it airs on E-tv.
The SABC’s over-the-top streaming platform saw the public broadcaster take over the TelkomONE streaming service in mid-November 2022 and rebrand it as SABC+.
The broadcaster hopes its streaming platform could help regain some viewers whose entertainment consumption migrated from broadcast TV to online streaming.
SABC+ features the public broadcaster’s free-to-air TV channels and radio stations, streamed live, and on-demand and catchup content of its most popular soaps and TV shows.
The service is free, but viewers can pay for an Amp subscription for additional TV channels, kids shows, short films, and BET and MTV reality series.
Industry reports previously noted that the SABC claimed its subscriber base grew by an average of 15,000 every week since its launch.