DStv vs Netflix vs Amazon Prime and more in South Africa

 ·11 May 2024

South Africans have several entertainment providers to choose from, with Amazon Prime Video being the cheapest major streamer.

Once a MultiChoice-controlled monopoly, South Africans now have far more options for television-based entertainment.

In 2016, the world’s largest streamer, Netflix, launched in South Africa. A host of other streaming giants, including Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and Apple TV+, followed.

That said, MultiChoice prepared for these global players beforehand and launched its own streaming service, Showmax, in 2015.

The group also has DStv stream, allowing users to view its broadcast content online.

However, DStv is still far more expensive than all other players, and many are still drawn to the broadcaster’s live sports coverage.

DStv Premium and DStv Stream Premium (one steam version) will set customers back R929 and R699 per month, respectively.

On the other hand, Netflix Premium, the most expensive product among the streamers, costs only R199 per month.

Showmax Entertainment+Premier League content (R140) Disney+ Premium (R139), Apple TV+ (R125) all follow.

Amazon Prime Video is at the bottom of the price list at R79.

Broadcaster/Streamer’s most expensive optionPrice per month
DStv PremiumR929
DStv Stream Premium (2 streams) R699
Netflix PremiumR199
Disney+ PremiumR139
Amazon Prime VideoR79
Showmax Entertainment + Premier LeagueR140
Apple TV+R125

Content and streams

Comparing content between broadcasters and streamers is not a straightforward task, as both operate differently.

According to data from JustWatch, Netflix has 6,672 on-demand titles in South Africa. DStv Premium, on the other hand, has 135 live channels and the Catch Up Service.

Looking just at the streamers, Amazon Prime Video is not only the cheapest but also has the most content, with 8,980 titles available in South Africa.

Showmax Entertainment+Premier League has 1,938 titles, while Apple TV+ is far behind with 226 titles. Data for Disney+ is not available on JustWatch.

That said, a major point of discontent with DStv Stream is the R100 monthly charge for a second concurrent stream.

Apple TV+, for instance, allows for six concurrent streams, while Netflix Premium and Disney+ Premium allow for four:

Broadcaster/Streamer Number of Titles / ChannelsNumber of concurrent Streams
DStv Premium135 Channels
DStv Stream Premium (1 stream)135 Channels1
Netflix Premium6 672 titles 4
Disney+ Premium4
Amazon Prime Video8 980 Titles3
Showmax Entertainment+Premier League1 938 Titles2
Apple TV+226 Titles6

Viewing figures

Comparing viewing figures between the streamers is also challenging, as most remain tight-lipped about these numbers.

DStv is different, with MultiChoice reporting on its customer numbers in its financial results.

For the six months ended 30 September 2023, the group said that the South African customers were 5% lower at 8.6 million.

That said, the number of premium clients saw 5% growth over the same period.

“Although the Premium and Compact bases showed improved stability compared to the latter part of FY23, mass-market subscribers are proving less resilient and more reluctant to pay when uncertainty around the ability to consume pay-TV exists,” MultiChoice said.

JustWatch measured interest in subscription video on demand (SVODs) on its site for the first quarter of 2024.

Netflix comes out on top 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.

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