Sandy's TV Surge: Viewing in NYC Spiked as Superstorm Hit

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What, you were going to read a book during SuperMegaUltraStorm 2012? If you had power, you were glued to a TV (or computer or mobile device).

As Sandy started ripping apart the Jersey Shore on Monday, Oct. 29, TV viewing in New York City nearly doubled at around 9 p.m. compared with the week prior -- before plummeting back down as the storm knocked big portions of the Big Apple off the grid -- according to research firm Rentrak.

Broadband usage in a city in Sandy’s path also spiked Oct. 29, according to network-management equipment vendor Sandvine (see East Coasters Homebound by Sandy Binged on Broadband -- If They Could).

Actually, the real reason Rentrak released the NYC viewing data was to gloat over its rival, Nielsen, which said last week that it would not be releasing November ratings for the New York market because of the storm. Rentrak didn't call out Nielsen's woes specifically but chief research officer Bruce Goerlich wrote in a blog post: "Bottom line, Rentrak’s motto maybe should be changed to that of the old mail carriers, 'Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.'"

Rentrak analyzed TV viewership data from approximately 90,000 homes in the New York market. Viewing levels were higher throughout most of the day on that Monday compared with Oct. 22, but dropped as the storm hit parts of the DMA in late afternoon, the company said. Check out the chart here: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121119/LA15706-INFO

Rentrak compiles linear TV ratings for all 210 DMAs in the country from more than 20 million set-top boxes through deals with Dish Network, Charter Communications, AT&T U-verse and others.

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