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Google joins SA video-on-demand entertainment war

Google joined the video-on-demand fray in South Africa this week, launching its Play Movies service into a South African market that is being defined by Showmax and Netflix

Google South Africa has announced the switch-on of its Play Movies service in the South African market. The service competes directly with existing video-on-demand services, where Showmax and Netflix have been defining the market.

MTN also offers a video-on-demand movie streaming service called VU, while Hong Kong-based PCCW Global has entered the market with OntapTV. Neither Netflix nor Play Movies have offered specifically local content so far.

Available since midnight on 17 February, Google Play Movies allows South Africans to rent or purchase movies for watching on their phones, tablets, computers and smart TVs. Full-length movies are available from all the major Hollywood studios.

Movies are available to purchase or rent from R19.99. Once rented, customers will have 30 days to watch most movies, and 48 hours to finish watching once they’ve hit the ‘play’ button. Google Play movies features new releases, classics and a range in between. Local movies are not yet available, but Google SA says it hopes to make these available soon.

How to get Play Movies:

  • Android devices – Open the Play Store on your phone or tablet, and open ‘Movies’. Movies can be streamed for immediate viewing or downloaded for offline watching.
  • iOS devices – Download the Google Play Movies app from the Apple App Store on your iPhone or iPad. Movies you’ve purchased on Google Play ( are available immediately to stream or download in the Play Movies app.
  • On the web – Browse to the Google Play store (, buy or rent movies and watch them immediately.
  • On your TV – South Africans can also watch movies on Android TV, Chromecast, or (coming soon) LG Smart TV.
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