South Africans can now stream their favourite movies and television series on Netflix, with the announcement that the service is now available in the country.

The announcement is likely going to invigorate competition in the country’s nascent online television industry, which has been dominated by ShowMax, owned by Naspers .

According to reports, ShowMax has said that U.S-based Netflix’s launch in South Africa will boost local awareness of internet television. Richard Boorman, head of communications at ShowMax, told Fin24, “It’s good news that we have another major player in the market who’ll generate additional interest in internet TV”.

The basic monthly plan costs US$7,99 (R126) and allow users access to online content on a single screen. The package offers unlimited movies and TV shows and users can watch on their laptop, TV, phone or tablet. Netflix also offers a stand package, available in High Definition (HD) which costs US$9,99 (R161) and a premium plan, pegged at US$11,99 (R194). The premium package is available on HD and ultra HD, with simultaneous viewing on up to four screens.

The announcement has been met with mixed feelings on social media, with potential audiences welcoming the launch, which they view as an alternative that can compete with MultiChoice’s DStv.

However, others users on social media are wary of Netflix, questioning whether the service will not perpetuate perceived cultural imperialism. Despite these concerns, other users have argued that Netflix brings an important element: freedom of choice to consumers.

Competition in the online television and broadcasting sector is inevitable. Recently, Zimbabwe’s telecoms tycoon, Strive Masiyiwa, announced the imminent launch of a new pay TV service, Kwesé TV. Social media users welcomed the announcement, which is also being viewed as an alternative that can compete with DStv.

Social media reacts:

Source: Twitter and Fin24