by Richard Lord (@rlord182) During July 2020, many more South Africans were able to go about their daily business —out-of-home media owners tell me that traffic levels climbed to 80% of what they were before lockdown began back in March. So, the highs of television viewing that we saw in April and May have come and have gone.
When various lockdown amendments were announced by our president towards the end of July, some 4.3m South Africans tuned in to watch his address on SABC 2. This was enough to give it a top 10 ranking of most-viewed programmes among all TV viewers in South Africa.
Source: Nelson iPort
Top 10: Main market
With consumer time spent viewing TV having dropped off so dramatically, what’s been happening with actual audiences? Let’s find out…
|LSM 4–7 Top shows for Jul 2020||Channel||Audience|
|Uzalo||SABC 1||9 101 218|
|Generations: The Legacy||SABC 1||7 655 935|
|Skeem Saam||SABC 1||7 126 805|
|Scandal||e.tv||4 852 882|
|isiZulu News||SABC 1||4 558 968|
|Xhosa News||SABC 1||4 213 302|
|S’gud S’naysi||SABC 1||4 039 676|
|Rhythm City||e.tv||3 999 011|
|Nyan Nyan||SABC 1||3 973 147|
|Muvhango||SABC 2||3 804 661|
There has been very little change in the top 10 programmes watched by the main market in July when compared to June. Only two changes:
- Rhythm City on e.tv leapfrogged Nyan Nyan to claim spot no. 8
- Muvhango on SABC 2 returned to the top 10 at the expense of Makoti on SABC 1
The only real change is the continued downward trend of the actual audience figures. We started to see how audiences began to drop off when Level 4 and then Level 3 lockdowns were introduced, and we’re seeing the continued further erosion of audiences. Let’s look at the top three programmes which demonstrates this trend nicely:
|Mar 2020||Apr 2020||May 2020||Jun 2020||Jul 2020|
|Uzalo||9 486 146||11 382 535||11 302 538||9 590 008||9 101 218|
|Generations||7 829 601||9 671 777||9 148 977||8 473 225||7 655 935|
|Skeem Saam||5 784 067||8 788 444||8 914 540||8 128 294||7 126 805|
|Average||7 699 938||9 947 585||9 788 685||8 730 509||7 961 319|
April saw the peak of the lockdown audience among LSM 4-7. However, we’ve seen a steady decline every month since. The Uzalo audience, for example, dropped by 5% in the past month, and has declined by 20% since the peak in April.
Top 10: High-income earners
The top 10 among the LSM 8–10 audience has been more volatile, although we’re starting to see it settle down into a familiar pattern now, too.
|LSM 8–10 top 10 shows for Jul 2020||Channel||Audience|
|Uzalo||SABC 1||1 231 727|
|Skeem Saam||SABC 1||1 045 306|
|Generations: The Legacy||SABC 1||866 065|
|The Queen||Mzansi Magic||765 653|
|The President’s Address to the Nation||SABC 2||727 614|
|Gomora||Mzansi Magic||642 380|
|isiZulu News||SABC 1||615 371|
|Nyan Nyan||SABC 1||575 577|
|isiXhosa News||SABC 1||565 747|
Yet again we see the dominance of SABC 1, even among high-income earners. If this continues to surprise you, just remember that Sandton is not South Africa! Only four programmes in the top 10 were NOT on SABC 1. Mzansi Magic continues to be the only DStv channel to make the top 10. e.tv is back down to just one programme (Scandal) in the top 10.
As with the main market, audience decline continues to be a noticeable trend since the easing of lockdown restrictions…
|Mar 2020||Apr 2020||May 2020||Jun 2020||Jul 2020|
|Uzalo||1 133 361||1 444 715||1 511 289||1 268 365||1 231 727|
|Generations||833 858||1 094 402||1 087 749||932 049||866 065|
|Skeem Saam||887 852||1 262 802||1 359 156||1 231 012||1 045 306|
|Average||951 690||1 267 306||1 319 398||1 143 809||1 047 699|
The average audience of the top three programmes watched by LSM 8–10 has dropped by 8.5% in the past month, and declined by 20.5% since the peak in May.
Out of interest, the best-performing show on M-Net in the month of July was Carte Blanche, with an LSM 8-10 audience of 189 613 viewers. But is Carte Blanche a worthwhile media buy if you’re targeting an LSM 8–10 audience? Let’s do the maths…
The cost of a 30-second spot in Carte Blanche in July was R60 000 (rate card, no discounts). The 189k viewers equates to 1.74 rating points. This gives Carte Blanche an eye-watering CPP of R34 526 (a CPP is the cost to buy one rating point, and it enables us to compare the relative cost of two different shows). Let’s compare this with Uzalo, which we’ve shown reached 1 231 727 people in July. The 30-second cost for a spot in Uzalo was R206 870 (again, rate card rate, no discounts). The 1.2m viewers equates to 11.26 rating points. This means that the CPP for LSM 8–10 in Uzalo in July was R18 374 — comparatively half the cost to buy the same audience. So, which show is best for advertising to people in LSM 8–10? Of course, there are many factors to consider such as programme environment, audience aspiration, wastage etc. But all things being equal, and based on cost alone, couple with the actual number of people in LSM 8–10 that you can speak to, the answer seems pretty clear!
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Richard Lord (@rlord182) is media and operations director at Meta Media, South Africa’s newest media agency and part of the IPG global network and Nahana Communications Group of specialist agencies. 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. Richard contributes the monthly “Watched” column, which analyses monthly TV audience viewership figures in South Africa, to MarkLives.com.
This MarkLives #CoronavirusSA special section contains coverage of how the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, and its resultant disease, covid-19, is affecting the advertising, marketing and related industries in South Africa and other parts of Africa, and how we are responding. Updates may be sent to us via our contact form or the email address published on our Contact Us page. Opinion pieces/guest columns must be exclusive.