by Richard Lord (@rlord182) The November 2019 results are in, and there are some interesting things to note this month with regards to the top-viewed TV shows in South Africa.

Rugby World Cup

First, when looking at the high-income segment, November was all about the 2019 Rugby World Cup final between South Africa and England. The post-match wrap was the highest-watched TV show for the month — interestingly, not on SuperSport as one might expect but rather on SABC 2! The post-match wrap garnered 1.527m viewers or 14.4 ratings, while the actual match itself drew 1.361m viewers (clearly, people who didn’t watch the game live tuned into the post-match wrap for the highlights and analysis).

By comparison, how did the match on SuperSport fare? The live match on SuperSport 1 was watched by 789 000 people. But this doesn’t provide the full story! DStv tells us that over half a million unique users tuned into the broadcast via the Dstv Now streaming platform, meaning that the real SuperSport audience was very close to the SABC broadcast in terms of actual numbers. It’s amazing how South Africans have embraced streaming technology and how much these platforms are changing the way in which we watch TV.

It’s clear that the final with SA was where is was at. The third place pay-off between the All Blacks and Wales only appealed to diehard rugby fans. The SABC broadcast attracted 240 000 viewers, while the SuperSport audience was just 196 000. In comparison, the English Premier League match between Man City and Chelsea on SuperSport 3 was watched by 209 000 people in the high-income segment.


The top 10 programmes for the high-income earners in November were:

Top 10 TV shows November 2019


LSM 8–10

Rugby Wrap: South Africa vs England SABC 2 1 527 473
RWC 2019 Final: South Africa vs England SABC 2 1 361 390
Uzalo SABC 1 1 297 766
Generations: The Legacy SABC 1 1 060 449
Skeem Saam SABC 1 996 781
RWC 2019 Final: South Africa vs England SuperSport 1 789 236
Scandal 739 662
The Queen Mzansi Magic 687 396
Taken 3 613 440
Kong: Skull Island 605 233

Rugby aside, it’s clear that the SABC 1 dramas of Uzalo, Generations, and Skeem Saam continue to resonate, and movies on are always clear winners!

Main market

Now let’s look at the main market…

Top 10 TV shows November 2019


LSM 4–7

Uzalo SABC 1 10 606 852
Generations: The Legacy SABC 1 9 331 778
Skeem Saam SABC 1 5 819 989
Absa Premiership: Chiefs vs Pirates SABC 1 5 326 442
Scandal 5 079 616
Telkom Knock Out: Chiefs vs Pirates SABC 1 4 881 195
Muvhango SABC 2 4 803 688
Mr Bones 2: Back from the past 4 642 828
Shaka’s Mas SABC 1 4 152 440
Makoti SABC 1 4 047 940

As in October, Uzalo, Generations, Skeem Saam and Scandal appear on the top 10 against both the main market and the high income market segments.

Sport a major winner

Sport was a major winner in November among the main market, too, not just the Rugby World Cup but local soccer. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again — local is lekker.

There were two derbies played between Chiefs and Pirates in November — one in the Absa Premiership and the other in the Telkom Knock Out — and both matches pulled massive audiences! The RWC almost made the top 10, though. The post-match wrap was in 12th position with a main market audience of 3.973m viewers, while the actual live game pulled 3.427m viewers. The Springboks’ exploits in Japan truly did appeal to the Rainbow Nation.

What is interesting to note is that Muvhango on SABC 2, which consistently places in the top 10, is currently not shooting due to an actor’s strike because of non-payment of salaries. It will be interesting to see how long this lasts, and how this might affect the top 10 in December.


Richard LordRichard Lord (@rlord182) is media and operations director at Meta Media, South Africa’s newest media agency, and part of Nahana Communications Group (Interpublic Group of Companies). With over 20 years’ experience in the media industry and having worked for FCB, UM in London, and The MediaShop, he’s spent most of his career with IPG.

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