South Africa: TV Ratings Hit A Record High During COVID-19 Lockdown

23 April 2020


South Africa’s national lockdown period to try and curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus has given rise to some record TV ratings in the country with millions of viewers tuning in to watch the news and more entertainment content.


The country’s national shutdown period of 21-days announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa has seen families bored and looking for news, updates and entertainment while at home and watching a lot more TV.


The first term school holidays, together with the national lockdown, are seeing millions of families not roaming about in holiday homes or hotels that usually take them entirely off the ratings grid, like over the December holidays when viewership traditionally declines.


Another factor contributing to the increased ratings is that pay-TV services like MultiChoice have provided access to more TV channels making popular channels like Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) and SuperSport 1 (DStv 201) available to a much larger audience by opening them up to the lower tiers.


One long-term TV impact of South Africa’s national shutdown period will be the millions of viewers who are exposed to new content, who try out new shows and new channels, and in the process form new TV habits that they’ll likely follow even after they’re no longer locked down at home.


MultiChoice has seen its daytime audiences increase by up to 100%.


Meanwhile, ratings have gone up for the free-to-air channel, and even the SABC TV channels like SABC1, SABC2 and SABC3 with all three witnessing a surge of millions of viewers for shows such as TV news bulletins.


The SABC’s most-watched TV programme, Uzalo on SABC1 surged over the 10 million viewership mark in March with close to 10.2 million viewers.


Generations, Skeem Saam, the Xhosa TV news bulletin, the Zulu TV news bulletin and the Venda weekday primetime soap Muvhango also saw a massive rise in viewership numbers.

Source: TeeVee with Thinus