Pistorius Murder Trial Tops TV Viewing Figures During First Week

Paralympian Gold Medalist Oscar Pistorius
Paralympian gold medalist Oscar Pistorius gestures on the thirteenth day of his trial for the murder of his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp at the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria on March 19. Photographer: Themba Hadebe/AFP via Getty Images

The televised murder trial of Paralympian Oscar Pistorius was one of the most-watched shows on the DSTV satellite service in South Africa, according to Multichoice, a unit of Naspers Ltd.

The Oscar Pistorius Trial was the second-ranked entertainment channel and highest-ranked news channel during the first week of the trial, according to figures provided by the pay-TV division of Africa’s largest media company.

The channel’s adult audience peaked at more than 191,000 during the week starting March 3 and about 731,000 South Africans watched the live court sessions over the five days. A third of viewers were at least 50 years old and 22 percent were 35 years old to 49 years old. Multichoice is broadcasting a 24-hour show dedicated to the case.

The court yesterday heard that Reeva Steenkamp was standing and facing the bathroom door when Pistorius fired his first shot, a hollow-point bullet, into her hip bone. The 27-year-old double-amputee pleaded not guilty to the charge of murdering Steenkamp on Valentine’s Day last year, and three separate gun-related charges.

Pistorius, the first amputee athlete to compete at the Olympic Games, says he thought she was an intruder when he shot her through a toilet cubicle door in his bathroom. The prosecution says he killed Steenkamp after an argument.

The trial was postponed yesterday until March 24 after prosecuting lawyer Gerrie Nel asked for time to consult with witnesses. The adjournment was granted after Nel said he planned to call at most another five witnesses.

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