'Puppy Bowl IX' Surged During Superdome Power Outage

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Animal Planet said the ninth rendition of its Super Bowl counter-programming gambit -- Puppy Bowl -- recorded an event-record 12.4 million unique viewers ages 2 and up over 12 hours of airing.

It also enjoyed an audience surge during the 34 minutes when the football game was halted due to a partial blackout at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The Discovery-owned network said that during a 9-minute slice of time several minutes into the Super Bowl stoppage (8:51-9 p.m. ET), Puppy Bowl IX counted 1.1 million viewers P2+, a gain of 54% from the prior Puppy Bowl IX segment. (For an account of how the Puppy Bowl taping was disrupted by Hurricane Sandy, please see the Through The Wire column from Jan. 14, subscription required.)

During Puppy Bowl IX's premiere telecast from 3-5 p.m. (ET/PT), it brought in more than 2.6M P2+ viewers, an increase of 64% over year-ago levels. It posted gains across major demos, delivering 1.8 HH (+60%), 1.2M P18-49 (+94%) and 1M P25-54 (+60%), the network said in a release.

The premiere also helped Animal Planet rank #1 in the timeslot among all cable and #2 in all of TV (behind CBS) with W18-49 (1.4), P18-49 (1.2) and W25-54 (1.2), it also said.

Puppy Bowl IX was the most-buzzed-about show in all of cable, having the most Tweets all day Sunday and coming in second overall only to the Super Bowl, according to Animal Planet. It said: "The premiere telecast generated nearly 300,000 Tweets, pummeling last year’s total-day record of 214,000 Tweets within the first telecast alone. ... The sideline commentator, @MeepTheBird, gained approximately 19K Twitter followers, bringing the bird’s popularity to 34,000. How ‘bout that, Poe (Ravens mascot)?"

The match -- in which touchdowns are scored when puppies drag toys into a play area "endzone" -- drew 27% more unique visitors to AnimalPlanet.com than a year ago and generated more than 1.6M video streams.

All of the animals featured in Puppy Bowl IX have been adopted and came from Petfinder.com rescue groups and shelters across the United States and Puerto Rico, the network said.