SA viewers hooked on Oprah and Lance

2013-01-22 15:40
Cape Town – South African viewers and pay-TV subscribers tuned in in their hundreds of thousands for Oprah Winfrey's exclusive sit-down interview with disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong over two days on TLC at the weekend.

Winfrey's interview exclusive on TLC led to a massive ratings spike as the viewership surged for the channel.

Winfrey has managed to put the TLC channel (DStv channel 172 / TopTV channel 453) on the TV map in South Africa like nothing else before in TLC's two-year history in the country.

Hundreds of thousands of local pay-TV subscribers clicked through to the channel in unison with their remote controls this Friday and Saturday in South Africa as well as across the African continent to watch the cyclist admit to years of doping.

TopTV ratings unaccounted for

Although combined viewership figures for the rest of Africa and other African countries and territories where TLC is shown on pay-TV line-ups are not available, the TV exclusive of Oprah's Next Chapter which Discovery Networks International (DNI) secured, clearly paid off by luring viewers across the continent to tune in and keeping them spellbound to the TV special.

The talk show queen's interview with Armstrong lured a combined TV audience in excess of 342 275 viewers aged 15 and older in South Africa on MultiChoice's DStv platform alone, according to viewership figures from The South African Audience Research Foundation (Saarf). Saarf measures and compiles TV ratings in South Africa.

The Armstrong confession on Oprah's Next Chapter drew a massive 220 405 viewers aged 15 and older (the currency of viewers who matter most to advertisers in South Africa) on Friday 18 January to TLC for part one of the interview.

"On average 0.7% of adults aged 15+ who watched television on 18 January watched the Oprah and Lance Armstrong TV exclusive on TLC," Saarf told Channel24.

More than doubled viewership

These figures are likely to be even higher in South Africa given that the concurrent viewership of the TLC channel on TopTV has not been included, since TopTV ratings are not yet being tracked.

According to Saarf data, part two of the Armstrong interview pulled in 121 870 viewers on TLC on Saturday 19 January in the 19:30 timeslot in South Africa. It more than doubled the viewership from the 55 981 viewers who watched the repeat episode of part one on Saturday just before part two began.

It's interesting to note that the 220 405 viewers of the first part of the two-parter interview (and the combined 342 275) is much higher than the 200 000 viewers aged 15 and older who watched the Oprah special The First Graduating Class: Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in September 2012 – also exclusive to TLC.

The September special, which took viewers inside her private school for girls at Henley-on-Klip, was already a massive ratings-grabber for TLC in South Africa where the special was shown before it was broadcast in America.

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