Streaming means listening to music or watching video in ‘real time’, instead of downloading a file to your computer and watching it later. With internet videos and webcasts of live events, there is no file to download, just a continuous stream of data. When it comes to streaming movies and series in South Africa, our choices are limited to the 3 streaming Giants namely : Netflix, Amazon Prime Video & Showmax. Each have their pro’s & con’s, but how do you choose the right one for you? We decided to compile a comparison of the 3 to help you make an informed choice. From pricing to content, we compare it all.
But first lets take a look at some extra information on these streaming services :
Netflix, Inc. is an American over-the-top media services provider, headquartered in Los Gatos, California. Founded in 1997 by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph in Scotts Valley, California, the company’s primary business is its subscription-based streaming service, which offers online streaming of a library of films and television programs including those produced in-house.
Netflix’s initial business model included DVD sales and rental by mail, although Hastings jettisoned DVD sales about a year after Netflix’s founding to focus on the DVD rental business. In 2007, Netflix expanded its business with the introduction of streaming media, while retaining the DVD and Blu-ray rental service. The company expanded internationally, with streaming made available to Canada in 2010 and continued growing its streaming service from there; by January 2016, Netflix services operated in over 190 countries – it is available worldwide except Mainland China, Syria, North Korea and Crimea.
Netflix entered the content-production industry in 2012, debuting its first series, Lilyhammer. It has greatly expanded the production of both film and television series since then, offering “Netflix Original” content through its online library of films and television. Netflix released an estimated 126 original series or films in 2016, more than any other network or cable channel.
As of April 2018, Netflix had 125 million total subscribers worldwide, including 56.71 million in the United States. Their efforts to produce new content, secure the rights for additional content, and diversify through 190 countries has resulted in the company racking up billions in long-term debt: $21.9 billion as of September 2017, up from $16.8 billion from the same time the previous year, although only $6.5 billion of this is long-term debt; the remaining are long-term obligations.
Netflix’s headquarters are located at 121 Albright Way, Los Gatos, California, United States. They also have other offices in the Netherlands, Brazil, India, Japan, and South Korea.
Amazon Prime Video
Amazon Video is an Internet video on demand service that is developed, owned, and operated by Amazon.com. It offers television shows and films for rent or purchase and Prime Video, a selection of Amazon Studios original content and licensed acquisitions included in the Amazon’s Prime subscription. In the United States, access to Prime Video is also available through a video-only membership, which does not require a full Prime subscription. In countries like France and Italy, Rent or Buy and Prime Video are not available on the Amazon website and Prime Video content is only accessible through a dedicated website. In countries like the United States and the United Kingdom, Amazon Video additionally offers Amazon Channels, which allows viewers to subscribe to other suppliers’ content, including HBO in the United States.
Launched on September 7, 2006 as Amazon Unbox in the United States, the service grew with its expanding library, and added the Prime Video membership with the development of Prime. It was then renamed as Amazon Instant Video on Demand. After acquiring the local streaming and DVD-by-mail service LoveFilm in 2011, Prime Video was added to Prime in the United Kingdom, Germany and Austria in 2014, a move that angered some Prime UK members as the bundling was nonnegotiable with a 61% increase in subscription fee.
In the UK, Germany, and Austria, Prime Video has been available on a monthly subscription of £5.99 or €7.99 per month, continuing the plan of LoveFilm Instant. The service was previously available in Norway, Denmark and Sweden in 2012, but was discontinued in 2013. On April 18, 2016, Amazon split Prime Video from Amazon Prime in the US for $8.99 per month. The service also hosts Amazon Original content alongside titles on Video as well.
On December 14, 2016, Amazon Video launched worldwide (except for Mainland China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Syria) expanding its reach beyond US, UK, Germany, Austria, and Japan. Among the new territories, the service was included with Prime in Belgium, Canada, France, India, Italy, and Spain, with Poland to be included in 2018, while for all other countries it was made available for a monthly promotional price of $/€2.99 per month for the first six months and $/€5.99 per month thereafter.
Showmax is an online subscription video on demand (SVOD) service which launched in South Africa on 19 August 2015.
Showmax is employing a localisation strategy to take on established video on demand competitors with a focus on local content and partnerships with mobile telcos.
Showmax is a subsidiary of Naspers. Showmax’s engineering team is based in the Czech Republic. Showmax publishes engineering and research articles on a technical blog.
Showmax offers consumers a free 14-day trial.
Now that we have some background info on these streaming services, lets compare the fine details :
In the end your choice is always up to you, choose the streaming service that best suits your wallet and internet connection. It is important to know that each service has its own unique titles, although some titles are found on all 3 providers. Take into consideration how often you will be using the service & make use of the free trials if you are unsure.