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Netflix vs Showmax Launch conversation analysis

If history does in fact repeat itself then perhaps we can take a page out of the Australian book. Netflix launched in Australia on 31 March 2015, against some fierce local competition: Presto, Stan and Quickflix. The struggle for top viewership came down to three things: variety and streaming quality of content, data usage and finally technology adaptation. Netflix eventually came up on top, despite the lack of local content, and because of negotiated unmetered deals with many leading ISP’s. Though we are oceans apart in a lot of aspects, the same factors could lead to success or failure for Netflix locally. In South Africa we have one strong competitor, ShowMax, who have somewhat established themselves in the five months that they’ve been in operation. So the race for supremacy may fall down to the exact three factors as abroad.

Netflix Twitter Opinions

If you’ve logged into any of your social accounts this past week, you would have been inundated by the news: “Netflix is here!” Amongst speculation of Netflix’s impending move into the Southern tip of Africa, ShowMax, the home-grown video streaming offer made a pre-emptive strike by launching in August 2015. The race is truly on.

Both offerings have been praised and scrutinized. ShowMax received props for their Proudly South African content and Netflix for finally coming to our soil. The excitement, however, has been in watching the conversation unfurl around both of them. While ShowMax has had a few months head-start, the analysis below is based on a comparison of their respective launch periods.

Conversation volume on launch day

We did a comparison in ‘launch’ conversation; a ‘who did it better’ on actual launch day:

Netflix vs Showmax launch

The volume of conversation and the number of impressions on the Netflix launch was marginally lower. This shows us that perhaps the timing of the official Netflix launch may have not come at an opportune time. Considering it was the first week of January, with many South African’s still away on leave.

Early adoption

Next we looked at the head-to-head use of the services. Both services were a hit with early adopters, many signing up right after the launch announcements. More people spoke about signing up with Netflix within the first day (544) whereas ShowMax trailed behind slightly with 462 conversations.

Happy using it Netflix vs Showmax

Are they living up to expectations?

Looking deeper into the conversation around expectations we noted that both services had their initial teething issues. For ShowMax the disappointments came from technical issues, with Netflix it’s mainly been a lack of content. In both cases users wanted more apps for more platforms, specifically for Xbox, Playstation and Smart TV’s. In both cases internet connection speeds and data played a part in whether or not to use the services:

Questioning successData

The content race

With any entertainment offering, it’s only as good as the series and movies it can offer. ShowMax is the current leader with localised content (and beloved international programmes too.) There has been some disappointment to Netflix’s limited local content. While this may change, it seems to have given ShowMax a bit of a respite.

Content offering Netflix vs Showmax

What’s next?

Though both ShowMax and Netflix are in infancy stages, we’ll all be looking to data costs, technology and the quality of shows in the next 12 months to see who will win the battle of video streaming.

Using Crimson Hexagon, we’ll be watching the conversations online for major updates. If you’d like more details on our research you can contact us here.



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  1. 1

    Interesting blog. A few other points to consider in race to be the winner. In South Africa and largely Africa, the people with the biggest access to content is Naspers with MultiChoice / DSTV under their belt. If you track the owners of Showmax you will quickly see the connection here. The race to win digital TV age will be based on data connectivity and associated costs, content and brand. I believe that Showmax currently owns 2 and 1/3rd of the 3 factors, while Netflix currently has a nostalgic global brand that will burn out quickly if they don’t start to capture some of the other 2 factors. Showmax has some interesting plans for the future, this is going to be an interesting start to the year.

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