The most popular movies and series in South Africa during lockdown

South Africans are watching more content online due to the COVID-19 lockdown.

MultiChoice said that active Showmax users have increased by 50% while play events have more than doubled since pre-lockdown peaks.

Active user numbers typically lull on Wednesday and Thursday, and build up from Friday until a peak on Sunday. However, during the lockdown this has not been the case.

“There was a significant divergence from Monday 15 March,” MultiChoice said.

“On that day, instead of the number of active customers dropping off, it stayed almost at the Sunday peak and then started rising for six days straight.”


What people are watching on Showmax

The company told MyBroadband that live news is the most-watched content on its platform at the moment.

It said it was able to repurpose the live streaming capability it had developed for sport and redeploy it at short notice for eight news channels.

“We’ve also seen a big spike in news viewing on DStv Now and on the DStv Now free service which is available to non-subscribers,” it said.

“We’ve also created edutainment content rows to help parents, and we’re even adding yoga and other exercise programming.”

Showmax prepaid headline


The most popular content on Netflix

Netflix offers a section on its platform which outlines the top 10 TV shows and movies in South Africa each day.

This gives one a good indication as to what South Africans are watching on the platform.

The top 10 TV shows on 9 April (the last day before the Easter Weekend) were:

  1. Money Heist
  2. The Big Show
  3. Tiger King
  4. Ozark
  5. Community
  6. Jane the Virgin
  7. Bossy Baby – Back in Business
  8. Nailed It
  9. Unorthodox
  10. Friends

The top 10 movies in South Africa as on 9 April were:

  1. Fifty Shades Freed
  2. Coffee and Kareem
  3. Sniper: Ghost Shooter
  4. The Mask
  5. Proud Mary
  6. Dr Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat
  7. Holmes and Watson
  8. Money Heist: The Phenomenon
  9. Escape Room
  10. 6 Underground

Netflix headline


The most pirated movies on BitTorrent

TorrentFreak reports weekly on the most downloaded movies on the BitTorrent platform

While this information is not specific to South Africa, it provides insight into the content being seeded and pirated.

The most torrented movies for the week ending 6 April 2020 were:

  1. Bad Boys for Life
  2. The Gentlemen
  3. Bloodshot
  4. Underwater
  5. Birds of Prey
  6. Sonic The Hedgehog
  7. Onward
  8. Star Wars: Episode IX
  9. The Call of the Wild
  10. The Invisible Man

Online Piracy Key Keyboard


Reduced streaming bitrates

As a result of the increased volume of streaming taking place on their platforms, however, various video streaming services have cut the bitrates customer can receive.

Netflix, YouTube, and Amazon have all implemented these changes, while local MultiChoice streaming services DStv Now and Showmax have followed suit.

“We’ve limited the maximum resolution for both Showmax and DStv Now live streaming to 576p on our mobile apps,” MultiChoice said.

No changes were made to browser, TV, or decoder-based streaming, but MultiChoice said it would take further measures if necessary.


Now read: Big increase in Showmax users during lockdown

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The most popular movies and series in South Africa during lockdown