Cape Town – While eNCA remains the most watched TV news channel in South Africa and further grew its lion's share of the available news audience during March, warning lights continue to flicker for the SABC's costly SABC News channel and the Gupta family's struggling ANN7 as both channels saw their small ratings plummeting further.
While eNCA's ratings on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform is up from a month ago, February to March 2016, as well as year-on-year compared with March 2015, both the SABC's beleaguered SABC News channel and ANN7 don't have good news stories to tell.
Both SABC News and ANN7 saw their viewership fall from February to March, as well as year-on-year as more viewers are tuning in to eNCA.
While audience ratings and share is not an indication of trust or credibility, it is an indicator of what news source viewers prefer and seek out and who they like to get their news from.
eNCA (DStv 403) that grew its viewership share of the total DStv audience who are watching TV news channels by another 5.6%, is currently commanding a 54.26% overall share of the news channels' viewership market.
What the viewership ratings and share compiled by AGB Nielsen Media Research means, is that more South African viewers are tuning in to watch eNCA during 06:00 and 23:00 daily, than viewers who watch any of the other local or internationally available TV news channels on DStv - combined.
eNCA grew its viewership share from 46.36% in March 2015 to 54.26% in March 2016, and is also up from 51.45% in February 2016.
Sky News still top international news channel in SA
In stark contrast, and despite millions of rands being funneled into the running of the channel – the SABC's second attempt at a 24-hour TV news channel – the public broadcaster's SABC News (DStv 404) declined by 27.9% in March.
SABC News now has a viewership share of 14.7% in March 2016 – off from the previous month and down from the 20.7% share it had a year ago.
Infinity Media's ANN7 (DStv 405), known as "Gupta News", declined by 20.6% and now as a viewership share of only 8.83% among MultiChoice's range of news channels on DStv. That is off from the 10.66% share it had in February this year and down from its 10.15% share in March last year.
Meanwhile Sky News (DStv 402) remains the most watched and most popular international TV news channel in South Africa with a news audience share of 9.62%, followed by CNN International (DStv 401) in second place with a 6.47% share in March.
Both local business news channels – ABN360’s CNBC Africa (DStv 410) and the Times Media Group's BusinessDay TV (DStv 412) – continue to struggle with neither managing to even pull 1% each of the available news audience.
In March CNBC Africa grew its small audience share slightly from 0.81% to 0.94% while BusinessDay TV shrunk from 0.61% to 0.57%.
A chart of the news channels on DStv: