10 Years Of SAMAs TV Ratings — Battle of the Hosts

They are undoubtedly the most celebrated and recognised awards organisation in South Africa. The South African Music Awards ceremonies a have given us some of the biggest tv moments of our time; we have laughed, cringed, teared up and celebrated with the our country's musical stars thanks to the awards ceremony. I chart the viewership track of the tv broadcast of the SAMAs for the last 10 years. 

In the last 10 years, we have seen the SAMAs go bigger and challenge themselves to be the best at this awards ceremony thing. Having the ceremony being exclusively aired on SABC has meant that the show would attract a large audience pull.

We have learned over the years that having the right person host the event is as crucial as who wins the trophy. Trevor Noah and Kabelo Mabalane have hosted the show twice. Bonang has also been part of the SAMA hosting alumni twice, as a co-host with Phat Joe in 2011 and as a red carpet host in 2012. 

The highest rated SAMAs tv broadcast was in 2012. The 18th edition of the awards were hosted by Pabi Moloi, Sizwe Dhlomo, Zonke and Kabelo with Bonang Matheba hosting the red carpet pre-show. The show attracted 4 255 000 viewers, making it the third most watched show on television behind Generations and Montana for April that year. 

HHP hosted the lowest rated SAMAs show of the last 10 years

No surprise that the lowest rated SAMAs of the last decade was the 2015 ceremony which was hosted by HHP. He has since apparently apologised for the debacle. This 21st edition attracted a meagre 2 930 000. 

For the most part, the ratings for the SAMAs have fluctuated around the 3 million plus mark. Which is not a bad figure but is certainly not that impressive especially given that SABC1 viewership numbers have increased exponentially over the last 5 years. 

For instance, when the SAMAs pulled that high 4.2million number Generations was pulling 5 million. The second rated show was around the 4.9 million figure so the SAMAs were doing impressively well. Now, the highest rated shows on SABC1 pull above the 5 million. 

The top 20 shows on SABC1 pull on average between 3 and 8 million. Judging by the latest ratings for June 2016, for the SAMAs to crack the Top 10 they needed to pull atleast 4.2 million viewers — which they did not. 

The 2016 ceremony held in KZN with Somizi and Thando Thabethe as hosts was praised as the best edition of the awards in a while. Many lauded Somizi especially for his comedic flare and generally gave the event a positive nod, it was not without some sound issues, politicians gaffes and technical complaints of course. 

Sadly, the 2016 television broadcast, even with all the social media frenzy and Somizi being praised, did not do that well with viewers. The show pulled less than 3 million viewers making it one of the least watched in the last 10 years. It also failed to make the Top 20 channel list for the month for SABC1. 

Personally, I think the success of the Metro Awards is having a negative effect on the prestige of the SAMAs. The fact that this year both events were held in the same city, at the same venue, was a bit much. 

The 2014 ceremony did very well and became the second most watched SAMAs event in the last decade with an audience pull of 4 090 000. On each occasion Trevor Noah hosted he over 3 million —3 725 000 in 2009 and 3 010 000 in 2010, that's 6.7 million together. 

Kabelo hosting in 2007

But it is Kabelo Mabalane with 7.5 million who has pulled the most viewers. In 2007 as a solo host he pulled 3 338 600 and as part of the foursome that hosted in 2012 he was part of the number 1 rated SAMAs show with that 4 255 000.

With female SAMAs hosts ... well, Bonang takes the top spot with 7.9 million, though she never hosted solo. Paired with Phat Joe in 2011 they pulled 3 752 000 and she was part of the 2012 team as the red carpet host so she gets that 4 255 000 piece of the glory. 

Has the SAMAs lost their lustre? Did having the show in KZN cause the low viewership ratings for this year? Do Somizi and Thando, much like HHP, not have a massive audience pull? 

What do you think? 

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