S.Africa’s gay TV wedding dethrones The Girl From St Agnes as Showmax’s most viewed show

The "Somhale" television wedding special, aka "Somizi & Mohale: The Union" has broken Showmax's all-time record for most viewed show on its first day, ahead of Hollywood's blockbuster, "The Girl From St Agnes".


The achievement speaks volumes in a country where a lesbian couple had to go to the equality court ( as reported by the Pretoria University’s Centre for Human Rights) to try find a wedding venue to accept them, not to mention that homosexuality is still illegal in many African countries – with the exception of South Africa among few others that is.

“This demonstrates just how important local content is to succeeding in streaming video in South Africa, and why it’s so significant that more than half of Showmax’s catalogue is now made up of local shows,” read a statement from MultiChoice. 

This notable shift to local content – as seen now with the “Somhale” wedding, dubbed by many as the wedding of the year, started more than a year ago with shows like “The River” and “The Queen“, occupying top viewership spot.

Lockdown” and “Kwa Mam’Mkhize” followed suit in recent months.

Why does it matter?

Local content doesn’t just get views, it also brings in new subscribers. 

Often led by local production houses and independent producers, subscription video on demand (SVOD) is rapidly growing in popularity. 

As such the importance of online video distribution (OVD) can not be stressed good enough.

Not only does it connect consumers with content that closely matches their needs and tastes, it also makes ethnic content that would often be difficult to find easily accessible to intended audiences.

Their ability to do so is the result of both extensive catalogues and enlightened nature, as seen with Showmax

The video streaming platform now has almost half-a-billion play events (somebody watches a show, movie or live sporting event). 

Currently, six out of the top 10 most popular shows as ranked by first views on Showmax are local. 

Views of local content are up more than 40% in less than a year – Niclas Ekdahl, CEO of the Connected Video division of MultiChoice said:

Speaking about the importance of local content, Ekdahl said: “We expected Somhale to do well but the response was even bigger than we’d hoped, and it goes to show how our shift to local content is paying dividends. In fact, the views of local content are up more than 40% in less than a year. 

“The key to supplying local content is realising it’s a marathon. Bringing on new shows and new episodes day in, day out, week in, week out is what our customers are looking for.”

He added: “And thanks to the decades of local content commissioning and production expertise sitting in this company, that’s exactly what we’ll be doing.”

Some of the most popular local content on Showmax

Award-winning SA telenovela, The River, is among the most streamed shows on Showmax