Most-watched TV shows in South Africa

The top three most-watched TV shows in South Africa in May were all broadcast on SABC 1, the latest television audience measurements published by the Broadcast Research Council of South Africa (BRCSA) revealed.

While online video streaming services have been growing in popularity, conventional terrestrial and satellite broadcasting still reign supreme in South Africa.

The State of the Broadcasting Industry Report of 2019 showed South Africa had 14.4 million TV households, with an audience of 38.2 million people.

Pay-TV provider MultiChoice’s latest financial results revealed that it alone had 8.9 million DStv subscribers who had been active between January and March 2021.

The BRCSA uses marketing research firm Nielsen’s sample-based People Meter technology to measure the viewing habits of TV audiences.

One version of Nielsen’s solution comprises a paperback-sized box which is hooked up to the TV sets of sample households.

It is accompanied by a remote control with assigned personal viewing buttons for each member of the household.

The People Meter can then capture and relay this information, which is updated by Nielsen on a daily basis.

The latest data showed that dramas and soapies remained the most popular types of shows in South Africa during the prime time hours between 17:30 and 22:00.

Notably, SABC 1 claimed the entire podium.

The channel’s highly popular drama Uzalo once again recorded the highest number of peak viewers, with an episode aired on 13 May hitting more than 8.047 million viewers.

Generations: The Legacy, another SABC 1 production, was the second most-watched show, with its peak viewership reaching 6.559 million on the same date.

Rounding out the top 3 was Skeem Saam, which had over 5.5 million viewers for its most-watched episode of May.

Etv’s Scandal and SABC 2’s Muvhango had the fourth and fifth-highest number of peak viewers, with 4.943 million and 4.135 million, respectively.

Cast of SABC 1’s Uzalo.

The table below shows the top 5 overall TV shows with the highest number of peak viewers, as well as the top 3 on SABC 1, SABC 2, SABC 3, Etv, and DStv.

Most-Watched TV Shows
Channel Show Peak Viewers
Top 5 overall
SABC 1 Uzalo 8,047,254
SABC 1 Generations: The Legacy 6,559,974
SABC 1 Skeem Saam 5,500,172
Etv Scandal 4,942,858
SABC 2 Muvhango 4,134,974
Top 3 per channel
SABC 1 Uzalo 8,047,254
Generations: The Legacy 6,559,974
Skeem Saam 5,500,172
SABC 2 Muvhango 4,134,974
7de Laan 1,328,633
Britain’s Got Talent:  The Champions 1,153,955
SABC 3 Wild Metropolis 680,196
Emirates FA Cup Chelsea vs Leicester City 678,485
Sport Arena 648,065
Etv Scandal 4,942,858
Rhythm City 3,822,242
Ican with Absa Drive 3,801,261
DStv Gomora 1,649,561
The Queen 1,325,865
The River 1,145,792


Now read: Former employee sues SABC for R262 million

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