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Netflix vs Amazon Prime vs Cell C Black: Streaming Battle Royale
02 Jul 19

Battle Roayle

Streaming services have been booming in recent years and you’re probably thinking about signing up to one of the major players: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video or SA’s own Cell C Black. But how should you decide? The best (and most entertaining solution) is to throw them all into a cage fight and see who makes it onto your smart TV. Step right up! You’re about to witness the showdown of the year. Phil and Phonefinder are giving you front-row seats to a knock-down-drag-out between the world’s biggest streaming services. In the one corner, we have…

The Contenders

Netflix: This US heavyweight hit the small screen in a big way and the hits have just kept coming ever since its debut. 40 million active accounts don’t lie! Of their roughly 100 million frequent users, about 400,000 of those are in South Africa.

Amazon Prime Video: After dominating the arena of online shopping for well over a decade, retail giant Amazon has turned its sights on the online entertainment world with its streaming service, Amazon Prime Video. Some would argue this slow-starter only really hit its stride after its rebranding in 2011, but its proven to be a fierce competitor with a global audience of 75 million! This is despite some of its content only being viewable in the United States (but you can get around this and other restrictions with a good VPN).

Cell C Black: The competition is tough, but our homegrown champion is no push-over. After leading the charge to dethrone DSTV and Multichoice, Cell C’s streaming service must now defend its popularity against overseas contenders and is putting up quite a fight with 100,000 South Africans downloading the Black app on Android and 9,000 more downloading it on iOS. And that’s just the app!

Round 1: Content

This is what we came to see (literally). Thrilling, edge-of-your-seat, laugh-out-loud, I’m-not-crying-you’re-crying entertainment is all we ask for from a decent streaming service. And, boy, do these guys deliver! Netflix and Amazon Prime not only bring you some old favourites, but also serve up original series and movies, which sometimes puts even the Hollywood assembly line to shame. Netflix is certainly more prolific in its production of original masterpieces like "Stranger Things” or "To All The Boys I Loved Before”. But Amazon Prime Video is no slouch either, knocking back with modern sure-fire cult classics like "Good Omens” and "The Marvellous Mrs Maisel”.

However, Netflix has Marvel on its side. Arrow, The Flash, Daredevil, Luke Cage, and more are massive drawing cards for a large chunk of Netflix subscribers looking to get their geek on and that doesn’t look like it’s going to slow down any time soon. 

But, what’s this? Cell C Black is bringing Marvel to its subscribers too. Binge on the latest releases of the Marvel Cinematic universe like "Black Panther”, "Thor Ragnarok”, and "Avengers Infinity War”. And that’s not all. Thanks to its Fox+ package, you can enjoy a selection of the latest and greatest US series, including American Horror Story, Modern Family, and more. Black also brings all the geeks to the yard with a handful of Marvel spin-offs and the new Star Wars movies. Throw in a hefty collection of BBC series that Netflix recently dropped and even the streaming giant may have to tap out soon.

That said, Netflix still holds many of the cards. The shifting content selection keeps its subscribers’ finger on the pulse of many of the new and classic movies and series. Black and Prime may gain the upper hand someday, but today is not that day.

Winner: Netflix

Round 2: Price

Another reason folks have been flocking to streaming services and throwing out their subscriptions to satellite services is the all-round lower cost. That said, there are some ever-so-slight differences in the pricing of some packages.

Netflix cost per month: R 99 – R 169
Amazon Prime Video cost per month: $ 2.99 - $ 5.99 / R 42.85 – R 85.84 (depending on forex)
Cell C Black cost per month: R 99 – R 488
Winner: Netflix

Round 3: Streaming Quality

Unfortunately, South Africa still has a long way to go before we can reap the benefits of 5G internet technology. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have nice things. With the right data deal, you can enjoy any of these streaming services with minimal buffering relying on anything as little as a 2MB line. The performance should be similar, no matter which service you decide to go for.

While Netflix is the most straightforward to use, you can’t beat Cell C for flexibility. Aside from the wide variety of subscription packages, this service provider also allows you to use your airtime to access their content, in which case the performance is as good as that Cell C’s coverage. 

Winner: It’s a tie.


Final word from Phil

Depending on where you stand, it may look like a tie between Netflix and Cell C Black. Or maybe you’re still in Amazon’s corner. It isn’t over until the final bell tolls. Let me know on Facebook: which streaming service is your go-to? What other streaming services recommendations have you gotten?

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