Netflix vs. ShowMax

Netflix vs showmax

The agony of choosing between Netflix and ShowMax:

When I was first asked to look into SA’s two hottest new streaming services, who knew that it would end with me binge watching until I looked something like a square-eyed Tyrion Lannister after a weeklong debauch?

Actually, no prizes for seeing that one coming – but now that I’ve had a chance to get to grips with both services the question is: which one’s the keeper?

It’s too close to call right now:

·      Both services worked smoothly on various devices and operating systems, though Netflix did offer an app for my unfashionable Windows phone.

·      Both offered a fair amount of content at reasonable quality (Netflix does offer better quality – at a cost): NetFlix ZA – nearly 750 titles | ShowMax – just over 1000 titles

·      There is some difference in price, ShowMax is R99 a month and NetFlix weighs in around R128 for their lowest tier offering (depending on how many Finance Ministers we lose).

Right, so if there isn’t much to choose between these two services and ShowMax is charging less, that’s case closed, right?

Back to Game of Thrones!

There might be more to it

Netflix may be more expensive, quite a bit more if you want to watch it in its full UHD glory ($11.99 for premium), but it also has more potential. For now, ShowMax have stolen a march on their international competitor.

Netflix is currently struggling to get its international licenses in order, and position itself in 190 different countries.

ShowMax on the other hand have a home ground advantage. They’ve proved savvy in their choice of programing, offering popular HBO series’ along with a wider selection of British titles and local content.

ShowMax can hold their own, but for how long?

US Netflix boasts over 7000 titles in their catalog. So as soon as Netflix gets their ducks in a row with their’s a whole new ballgame perhaps?

Netflix is definitely working towards a more international business model. To give an example their new Anime series Perfect Bones will premier in 190 countries simultaneously.

This also brings me back to the issue of the exchange rates; $8 for Netflix’s basic offering is slightly more pricy, but ShowMax has already admitted that the shift in the Rand hit them hard. Though ShowMax have not, as yet, raised their prices, can they continue to be competitive while resisting rising costs?

The recent loss of Breaking Bad from their channel may be a sign of this issue. ShowMax says retiring programs allows the acquisition of new content, but one wonders if the license cost of more popular series won’t be entering into the equation when it is determined what remains available and what gets retired.


I wouldn’t like to pick a definitive winner at this stage and who’s complaining about choice? (Muli-choice aside, that is!)

Both services offer free trials and both let you cancel your service at any time.

My cunning plan is to enjoy my free subscription period and then chop and change depending on what each provider has to offer. A little forward planning should let me get the best of both worlds, simply by choosing shows I am interested in a month in advance.

Now, back to Game of Thrones!