The sports category has moved to a new website.

Showmax applied 3 strategies to surpass Netflix subscribers in Africa

Showmax has made headlines with a quoted 2.1 million subscribers in Africa against Netflix's 1.8 million, here's how the MultiChoice company outdid Netflix.

MultiChoice Group CEO Calvo Mawela and Netflix Co-founder & majority shareholder Reed Hastings

In the digital age, Africa has become a battleground for streaming giants, each vying for the attention and loyalty of the continent's burgeoning viewer base.

This competition has led to an intriguing clash of strategies between Showmax, a platform that has tailored its approach to cater specifically to African audiences, and Netflix, a global behemoth with a one-size-fits-all strategy that still manages to resonate across diverse markets.

In this exploration, we delve into how these contrasting approaches are influencing viewer preferences, shaping the entertainment landscape, and accelerating the shift away from traditional TV.


Showmax, owned by MultiChoice – the South African company behind DStv – has carved a niche for itself by focusing on local content and offering flexible subscription plans that cater to the diverse economic realities across Africa.

This hyper-local strategy is evident in its investment in original African productions, such as 'Crime and Justice' in Kenya and 'The Wife' in South Africa, which have garnered significant viewership.

Furthermore, Showmax offers mobile-only subscription options at reduced prices, acknowledging the predominant mode of internet access across the continent.


Netflix, on the other hand, entered the African market with its global strategy, offering a vast library of international content alongside a growing list of African originals like 'Queen Sono' and 'Blood & Water'.

While Netflix's subscription rates are generally higher than Showmax's, its brand strength and the allure of global hits have ensured a competitive edge.

Netflix has also made strides in accommodating the African audience by introducing mobile-only plans in select markets, recognising the mobile-first nature of the continent's digital landscape.


The latest statistics highlight a fiercely competitive market.

According to recent reports, by the end of 2023, Showmax led in subscriber numbers across Africa at 2.1 million, but Netflix was not far behind at 1.8 million, showing a strong preference for platforms that offer local content and flexible pricing models.

This competition reflects a broader trend of viewer migration from traditional TV to digital streaming, driven by the desire for on-demand, diverse, and accessible content.


The transition from traditional TV to streaming services in Africa is significantly influenced by internet access and digital literacy.

With internet penetration rates steadily climbing across the continent, thanks to the expansion of mobile broadband networks and the decreasing cost of data, more Africans than ever before have access to streaming services.

This digital revolution is accompanied by a growing emphasis on digital literacy, enabling consumers to navigate the complexities of streaming platforms effectively.

However, the digital divide remains a challenge. In regions with limited internet access or where data costs are still prohibitively high, streaming services struggle to gain traction.

Both Showmax and Netflix are addressing this challenge by optimising their services for lower bandwidths and offering downloadable content for offline viewing, making digital streaming more accessible to a wider audience.


As streaming services continue to evolve, their success in Africa will increasingly depend on their ability to navigate the continent's diverse economic realities, invest in local content, and make streaming accessible to as wide an audience as possible.

The rise of digital streaming in Africa is not just a testament to the changing preferences of African viewers but also highlights the crucial role of internet access and digital literacy in shaping the future of entertainment on the continent.

This content was generated by an AI model and verified by the author.


Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: