Most-watched TV shows in South Africa revealed

The Broadcast Research Council of South Africa (BRCSA) has released its television audience measurements for February 2021.

The data includes a list of the most-watched shows on DStv, SABC 1, 2, 3, and Etv.

The BRCSA said the report does not give the total viewership of DStv commercial channels, and the figures reflect viewership on the platform at the top tier.

For instances where the same show appeared across multiple channels, we only included figures for the channel where it had the highest number of viewers.

The table below details the most-watched shows in South Africa in February 2021.

Most-Watched TV Shows
Channel Show Peak Viewers
Top 5
SABC 1 Uzalo 8,054,922
SABC 1 Generations: The Legacy 6,575,503
Etv Scandal 5,293,969
SABC 1 Skeem Saam 4,929,197
SABC 2 Muvhango 4,331,877
Top per channel
SABC 1 Uzalo 8,054,922
SABC 1 Generations: The Legacy 6,575,503
SABC 2 Muvhango 4,331,877
SABC 2 Live Lotto Draw 2,690,749
SABC 3 Desert Megapride 620,419
SABC 3 Boteti 605,883
Etv Scandal 5,293,969
Etv Imbewu 4,155,983
DStv The Queen 1,612,716
DStv Gomora 1,567,448

COVID-19 news and digital migration

Monthly viewership for the most-watched shows on each channel has declined slightly, although Imbewu on Etv recently overtook Rythym City to become the second most popular show on that channel.

Among the most-watched shows on SABC 2 were the national addresses to the nation by President Cyril Ramaphosa. These were excluded from the comparison, but it is interesting to note that the President’s Address on COVID-19 vaccination in February garnered 2,690,749 viewers.

Additionally, the President’s update on COVID-19 lockdown restrictions was viewed by 2,350,410 people on SABC 2 and the State of the Nation Address received just under 2 million viewers on that channel.

One of the most significant changes underway in the national broadcasting industry is the long-overdue migration from analogue to digital broadcasting.

This process is expected to take around one year and will free up high-demand spectrum for use by mobile operators.

The rollout of digital migration is occurring on a province-by-province basis and sees the government subsiding new digital decoders to indigent households while offering others the option to upgrade through various partners.

The analogue TV switch-off dates for each province are shown below.

  • Free State – March 2021
  • Northern Cape – April 2021
  • North West – May 2021
  • Mpumalanga – May 2021
  • Eastern Cape – May 2021
  • Kwa-Zulu Natal – July 2021
  • Western Cape – November 2021
  • Limpopo – December 2021
  • Gauteng – January 2022

Note that this timeline is an estimate and the department has said it will provide further detail in future.

Now read: MultiChoice’s broken GOtv website says everything you should know about digital TV in South Africa

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Most-watched TV shows in South Africa revealed