South Africans Watched 100 Years’ Worth of Showmax Videos Over Festive Season

South Africans win the year-end binge-fest

We’ve done a quick trawl of holiday viewing data on Showmax to see if we could spot any trends in how people used their downtime. Not everything was as expected, says Showmax

being bonang
Being Bonang was one of the most popular local shows in 2019

First off, top marks go to South Africa. The nation collectively viewed more than 100 years’ worth of video on Showmax over Christmas and New Year!

More people than ever before got on the streaming bandwagon, and those who were watching streamed more than usual. The net effect was a 30% increase in viewing hours compared to the average seen in previous months.

When did we hit peak couch time? Showmax thought the day after Christmas would see the most people retreating under a duvet to watch TV, but viewing activity actually maxed out on Sunday, 29 December.


What time of the day? It’s no surprise that evenings are the most popular time to watch TV, but interestingly, the peak over the holidays was earlier than Showmax sees during the rest of the year, hitting a high at 6pm.

Did people use the holidays to binge more than usual? Oh yes – there was a big jump in bingeing. For Showmax’s most popular series, once people had locked on they watched on average more than 30 episodes of the same show over the holiday period! The peak binge by a single account was more than 200 episodes of the same show!!

The most watched Showmax shows

The most-watched local genre? People can’t get enough of local reality shows, with a particularly strong showing from The Real Housewives of Johannesburg.

real housewives of johannesburg
The Real Housewives of Johannesburg

Which live sport got the most views? More people watched Wolves beat Manchester City 3-2 on 27 December (and all but end City’s title hopes) than any other game.

Which series genres were the most-binged? Comedy, medical drama and crime drama were all really popular binge destinations (people watching multiple successive episodes).

What were the most-binged local series? The RiverBinnelanders and Getroud Met Rugby stood out in terms of the number of successive episodes watched. (All are available to watch if you’re a South African living abroad, in most countries.)

Any other content trends? People watched way more movies than usual, which could be a reflection of having more opportunities to sit still for several hours at a time.

And how do the trends stack up around Africa? South Africans clearly take their leisure time seriously, with average hours per viewer up 21% compared to normal activity, while in Nigeria that increase was just 10%, and in Kenya an even smaller increase of 7%.

Looking back over the year just finished, these were the most viewed series on Showmax in 2019 (in no particular order):

10 most-streamed international series on Showmax

  • HBO’s Euphoria
  • HBO’s Game of Thrones
  • HBO’s Chernobyl
  • Younger
  • HBO’s Big Little Lies
  • Vikings
  • Billions
  • The Girlfriend Experience
  • Siren
  • The Handmaid’s Tale

10 most-streamed South African series on Showmax

  • Trackers
  • The Real Housewives of Johannesburg
  • Being Bonang
  • The River
  • The Queen
  • Die Spreeus
  • Die Byl
  • The Girl From St Agnes
  • The Bachelor SA
  • Boer Soek ‘n Vrou

What’s next?

In the coming year, Showmax will be ramping up local content starting with The River S3 on 27 January, followed with Lockdown S5 on 30 January, coming exclusively to Showmax.

Hollywood will continue to feature strongly, with Ray Donovan S7 starting 20 January and more blockbusters like A Star is Born and Aquaman for movie fans. Our recently expanded Kids’ selection includes everything from Paw Patrol to Star Wars Resistance. Finally, 2020 will see more top-flight sport, including more football from major local and international leagues, coming live to Showmax.