Another international business exits South Africa

 ·20 May 2024

Following a series of high-profile exits from South Africa in recent months—including Shell, BNP Paribas and Rolex—international streaming service BritBox is reportedly next to call it quits.

First reported by prominent and independent TV writer, Thinus Ferreira, and then confirmed to MyBroadband, the streaming service is wrapping up and exiting the country in August 2024, just three years after launching.

The service was joint venture between BBC Studios and ITV, before the former bought out the latter in a $322 million deal in February, according to Deadline. The group hit around 3.8 million subscriptions internationally.

The service launched in South Africa in August 2021.

BritBox confirmed the service would be closing on 30 August, saying that it is “refocusing on its more established markets and the areas of the business that will have the highest opportunities for growth.”

“A large proportion of the content on BritBox has been exclusive to the service in South Africa; however, we expect some of this great British programming will find a new home on other platforms and channels in the territory in the future.

“There is also a suite of BBC branded channels on DStv – BBC Earth, BBC Brit, BBC Lifestyle, BBC UKTV, CBeebies and BBC World News.”

The scale of BritBox’s operations in South Africa is uncertain, with the group stating previously that it does not share regional subscriber numbers. However, it deemed its entry into the local market and first year of operation a success.


BritBox joins the likes of Rolex, Shell and BNP Paribas in making a move away from South Africa this year – and these are just some of the big-name businesses that have called it quits on the country in recent times.

Before BritBox, Rolex confirmed it had closed its affiliate office in Sandton, Johannesburg, because the local markets and conjuncture have changed, no longer warranting the presence of an official Rolex affiliate.

Shell, meanwhile, plans to sell its downstream business in South Africa, which includes 600 petrol stations in the country, as part of a broader restructuring. The group will still, however, operate its upstream business across the country.

BNP Paribas, the sixth largest bank in the world, is no longer conducting the business of a bank via a branch in South Africa. The French bank’s exit is also due to a restructuring. It is exiting non-core operations in Africa to focus on Europe and Asia.


South Africa has a competitive streaming market where the likes of international players in Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime and Apple TV go up against an established media giant like Multichoice’s DStv and Showmax.

Showmax, which already operates in 50 African countries, re-launched its service in January with Comcast’s backing and technology.

Comparing viewing figures between the streamers is challenging as most remain tight-lipped about their local numbers.

DStv is different, with MultiChoice reporting for the six months ended 30 September 2023 that its South African customers were 5% lower at 8.6 million.

Analysis and estimations from JustWatch put Netflix on top in South Africa when it comes to streaming video on demand (SVOD), with 30% of the South African market share, followed by Amazon Prime Video (27%) and Showmax (25%).

However, it should be noted that these figures are not from the company’s themselves, with subscriber membership numbers a closely guarded secret in the SVOD space.

Read: Rolex joins the list of companies exiting South Africa

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