Ratings: SABC3 in cardiac arrest as Idols continues to grow

2016-11-08 14:17

Cape Town – While SABC2's 7de Laan has seemingly managed to stop haemorrhaging viewers and stabilised around a new low, viewership of SABC3 continues to fall while Idols – in its veteran 12th season on Mzansi Magic – could become the most watched show on DStv later this month for its live finale. 

The latest monthly viewership figures and audience ratings (ARs) for October for South Africa's TV channels show that the public broadcaster's damage of its only commercial TV channel, SABC3, continues as viewers continue to flee.

Meanwhile SABC2's debut of its new and first local telenovela, Keeping Score, sampled well in October and SABC1 remained a strong and stable channel with consistent ratings grabbers in Uzalo and Generations

SABC1 remains a stable SABC oasis

As the most watched programme on South African television, the Durban produced Uzalo on SABC1 with 8.24 million viewers in October had 212 359 more viewers than Generations on the same channel with its 8.03 million viewers, for their respective most watched episodes during the month.

In October Generations' viewership fell from September.

However, if there's one place where the SABC doesn't have a problem, it's the SABC1 schedule, where its strong line-up in October lifted the channel's overall ratings and viewership in October from September as shows like Mutual Friends, talkers Rise and Zaziwa and Real Goboza all showed gains.

Slightly down from September in viewership however were Skeem Saam, the Xhosa and Zulu news bulletins, Selimathunzi, Shuga, Live Amp and Vodacom Millionaires.

SABC2 manages to keep score

SABC2 showed a marginal improvement in October compared to the previous month, as the channel's number one rated show, the Venda soap Muvhango grew from 5.4 million viewers (16 AR, 53% share) to 5.6 million viewers (16.6 AR, 53.8% share).

The Afrikaans soap 7de Laan that was on a downward spiral following a disastrous timeslot move has managed to stop the viewership bleeding, apparently finding a new foothold at around 1.89 million viewers (5.5 AR, 17% share) for its most watched episode in October.

That is up from September's 5.3 AR and 1.81 million viewers, but still a far cry from the bulk audience it once used to lure.

Losing viewers on SABC2 in October were Mamello, Speak Out and Musiek Roulette but the channel's new two episode per week telenovela Keeping Score made a good debut despite little publicity, luring 2.17 million viewers (6.4 AR, 30.2% share) as the 7th most watched show on the channel during the month.

SABC3 in cardiac arrest as even Bold flatlines

Like Oliver Twist, SABC3 might be begging to ask: "Please sir, may I have more?" as ratings continued to spiral further downward and viewers fled for yet another month in a row in October since disastrous scheduling and bad local content introductions in July has seen the channel's viewership collapse.

Less viewers overall sampling or tuning to SABC3 is having a destructive impact on all of SABC3's programming – a case of less water in the dam lowering the level of all the boats.

A case in point is SABC3's high water mark, the American soap The Bold and the Beautiful.

Still reigning as the most watched show on SABC3, even the Forrester fashion empire has been unable to remain immune against SABC boss Hlaudi Motsoeneng's wrecking ball approach.

The Bold and the Beautiful is still top dog at 992 278 viewers (2.9 AR) as the most watched show on all of SABC3.

The ominous viewership shedding becomes clear however when you compare October's 2.9 AR and the constant slide from July's 4.6 AR, August's 3.8 AR and September's 3.4 AR. As top show ratings bellweather, The Bold and the Beautiful’s viewership shedding indicative of SABC3's overall viewership cardiac arrest. 

The same shocking ratings erosion is happening with SABC3's Isidingo that was already a struggling local soap before the SABC's disastrous schedule and content tampering.

At just 988 316 viewers in October for its most watched episode and a 2.9 AR, Isidingo keeps trending down from July's 3.5 AR, to August's 3.1 AR, September's 3.3 AR uptick and October's 2.9 AR. 

After placing Survivor back on the schedule although it's American content, the 28th season of Survivor, Survivor: Cagayan instantly made the channel's top 20 most watched list in October again with 490 232 viewers (19th place).

As usual, American movies round out the most watched viewership list on SABC3 for yet another month as viewers rejected the flurry of new local content the SABC rushed to air. 

Movies The Water Horse, Will, Pets, Ice Castles, Fired Up, The Hoax, American Reunion, Warm Springs and Sacrifice made the most watched list on the channel in October – not the new local shows given prime time timeslots but failing to lure audiences.

A bright spot is that the new season of Neil Anthony Private Chef – a local show – did make an impact at 10th place with 644 922 viewers (1.9 AR, 5.9% share).

High Rollers was slightly down from 1.8 AR (616 960 viewers) to 1.6 AR (540 570 viewers) in October, as was local talker Afternoon Express (537 257 viewers) compared with September's 558 020.

e.tv's got talent

South Africa's only free-to-air commercial broadcaster remains the modicum of stability where flagship soaps Scandal! (13.1 AR, 37% share, 4.47 million viewers) and Rhythm City (10.7 AR, 31.9% share, 3.64 million viewers) retained their number one and number two positions atop the ratings race.

Bright spot SA's Got Talent continued to remain a strong viewership draw in its 7th season with 3.21 million viewers and growing its already impressive share from 35,7% to 37% in October; while e.tv's viewership remained stable and buoyant despite the conclusion of telenovela Ashes to Ashes no longer on the schedule.

Interestingly its news that e.tv wants to get rid of in prime time, eNews Direct, lured 2.08 million viewers for its most watched bulletin during October, just a bit below the performance of local dramas like Z'bondiwe (2.339 million viewers) and Gold Diggers (2.338 million viewers) that remain top draws for the red letter channel.

DStv and its Idols workhorse

The shocker is the possibility that an old show in its 12th season could end up being the most watched programme on MultiChoice's DStv later this month when Idols on Mzansi Magic (DStv 161) has its live finale.

In October Idols kept growing its already rabid viewership base, passing drama series Rockville also on Mzansi Magic, and jumping from 4th to 3rd place on the most watched list (1.36 million viewers, 7.8 AR, 29.5% share), just behind Our Perfect Wedding and Isibaya in 1st and 2nd place.

Opening up the M-Net, M-Net Edge and Vuzu AMP channels to more DStv subscribers for the last weekend in October interestingly did little to lift those channels' viewership. Perhaps DStv subscribers didn't get the message that the channels would be more widely accessible.

SuperSport's soccer offering – matches from the Absa Premiership and Uefa Champions League, Premier League, CAF Champions League and Telkom Knockout Cup – made  SuperSport 3 and SuperSport 4 ratings draw cards, with rugby and soccer taking 12 places on the list of 20 most watched programmes on DStv during October.

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