From analogue to Netflix, how do South African's watch TV?
With all the options for watching TV, viewers in South Africa are almost spoiled for choice, so what does the country's TV audience look like?
Clement Manyathela spoke to the head of policy at Media Monitoring Africa Thandi Smith, journalist and independent TV critic Thinus Ferreira and Broadcast Research Council of South Africa CEO Gary Whitaker about the television landscape in South Africa.
Since TV was introduced to the country in the 70s, it has seen significant changes, from an increase in channels, streaming services, and the pending migration from analogue to digital.
South Africans' TV consuming habits have been affected by factors including access to Wi-Fi, load shedding, the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown.
In terms of lockdown we saw changes in the way video is consumed in the household… what we are seeing is an increase in usage of other devices other than the TV, and that means in the home there is multiple screening going on.Gary Whitaker, Broadcast Research Council of South Africa CEO
South Africa's social inequality impacts citizens' TV consumption habits - which vary greatly in different areas.
Some households have the luxury of having multiple streaming services and screens, while others are limited to watching free-to-air or analogue TV.
For the latter, the migration from analogue to digital will see their TV screens go black.
As it stands, we still have 36% if the population reliant on analogue television. That is a third of South Africa’s TV watching population still reliant on that signal, and once that signal switches off, their screens go black.Thandi Smith, Head of policy at Media Monitoring Africa
It’s impossible to really analyse the way South Africans consume media, without understanding the lived reality of the people of the country.
The inequalities can be exposed in every aspect of life, and watching TV is no different.
From sports and news to entertainment - a person’s financial status determines whether they can even afford the subscriptions required to see that.
To find out more, listen to the full audio below.
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