Reality TV not first choice of South Africans
Reviewing audience viewership of reality shows in South Africa would indicate that South Africans don't necessarily prefer reality programmes, as SAARF's TAMS Overnight ratings for August 2011 show that in the top 20 ranking for all programmes, the reality TV genre first makes a showing only in 19th position.
At times it seems as if there's nothing but reality TV on the screen but the top watched reality show, 'Dance Your Butt Off' on SABC 1 attracted 10.2% of the total adult viewing audience - that's 2.847-million viewers (aged 15+). In contrast, the friendly between Bafana Bafana and Burkina Faso, also on SABC 1, pulled 5.579-million viewers, a 19.9% share of the TV audience.
The 10.2% share of audience for August's top-ranked reality show is far above the 4% for the second-ranking show, eTV's 'Cheaters', which attracted 1.128-million viewers. The same channel's 'Fear Factor' ranked as the third biggest reality show in August, commanding a 3.9% share of audience, with 1.09-million adult viewers (15+).
SABC 2's 'American Idol' had slightly more eyes on screen than the fifth-ranking 'Survivor: Tocantins' on SABC 3 - both had a 3.8% share of audience, with 1.061-million and 1.057-million viewers respectively.
'Idols SA' attracted only 0.9% of the total TV audience, with the flighting on M-Net pulling just over 252 000 viewers and on Mzansi Magic just over 250 000. 'Minute to Win It', on M-Net, ranked 17th in the top 20 reality show rankings for August, with just under 159 000 viewers.
Live sporting events drew South African viewers' attention during August. Of the top 20 shows watched in August 2011, six covered sporting events.
Five of the overall top 20 shows were drama programmes, with 'Zone 14' pulling 18.5% of audience, and 'Intsika' pulling 17.6% (both on SABC 1).
Two news bulletins made it into the top 20, the Xhosa news in fifth place with 14.5% of viewers and the Zulu news in 10th with 13.7% of viewers.
The top of the pile is still 'Generations'. The only soapie to make it into the top 20, it attracted a massive 6.828-million viewers, almost a quarter of the entire adult TV universe.
To put into perspective, the screening of the 2010 FIFA World Cup opening match between South African and Mexico drew only 346 ,00 more viewers (28.8% share) than South Africa's top soapie did this August.