VIDI shoots first in SA video streaming war: has smart TV app ahead of ShowMax

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Tech news in South Africa today is likely to be dominated by two big questions: is your name on the list of Ashley Madison customers that’s been reportedly linked to the dark net and what TV shows and films are going to be available on Naspers’ Netflix-like ShowMax service when it launches later today?

To underline the significance of the latter, Times Media has just put out a press release that its VIDI streaming service, which launched last year, is now available as an app for Samsung smart TVs. So subscribers can stream directly to the screen without a laptop, tablet or similar device between.

We’re not big fans of one-upmanship announcements, especially as VIDI announced exactly the same thing back in May, which makes today’s release look more than a bit desperate. There’s little chance VIDI will steal Naspers’ thunder with this, but it does show how important streaming services are to the big media houses in South Africa. This should translate into competition for price and quality titles over the next few months.

VIDI currently has around 3 500 TV episodes and 400 movies to offer subs – a miniscule amount compared to international services like Netflix which have libraries of hundreds of thousands of titles. A leaked list of ShowMax titles suggests an emphasis on Afrikaans programming, but not a massively more attractive libarary of international films and TV.

Whether that list is complete, however, we’ll find out later today.

VIDI’s subscription model is currently R149 for its main library, with new releases charged at R27 per view. It’s believed that ShowMax will likely cost less than R100 for its premium subscription.

Adam Oxford

Adam Oxford

Adam is the Editorial Director at htxt media. He has been writing about technology for almost two full decades now. In a previous life, he was the editor of PC Format and Digital Camera Shopper in the UK, before going on to work as a freelance journalist for seven years. His work has appeared in or on Stuff, The Guardian, Linux Format, TechRadar,, PC Gamer, Green Futures, The Journalist, The Ecologist and The Review. Adam moved to South Africa in 2012 and loves 3D printers, MakerFairs and tech hubs. He hates seafood. None of his friends remember this when cooking.