Sandy & TV Viewing

I’ll be doing at least two blog posts on how TV viewing was impacted by Hurricane Sandy. I thought a quick look at one market would provide a nice soupçon of insight. Rentrak is able to report all markets before, after and during the storm. Our “big data” approach means we don’t go black. Our clients can see what happens in November.

The chart below shows actual Homes Using Television (HUT) by hour for the Monday before the storm, October 22nd, and Monday, October 29thwhen the storm hit for the New York market. This is based on the approximately 90,000 homes Rentrak has in the market. (Note that our HUTs are higher than the traditional metric because we do not filter out duplicate viewing. When a home views more than one program, we will count that home twice in our HUT.) What you can clearly see is an increase in HUT versus the 22nd on the 29th in the daytime hours, when many more people were at home…and then the storm hit, power was lost in many areas, and viewership fell. 

ImageThe share of viewing that major affiliates had is also interesting. Their viewing picked up during the daytime, and held fairly steady, even as the storm raged. The bump in their viewing share in an hour and a half in Prime on October 22nd was due to the Presidential debate. 

ImageWe will inspect other viewing issues related to the storm in our next blog, along with a wider look at more markets. 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.” I’ll ask our CEO what he thinks of that! 

In case you don’t know, I am Bruce Goerlich, Chief Research Officer at Rentrak, the global standard in movie measurement and your TV Everywhere measurement and research company. I have been in the research end of the marketing business for more than 30 years primarily on the ad agency side, with my last stint prior to Rentrak in the role of President, Strategic Resources Zenith Optimedia North America. Somewhere along the way I morphed from young Turk to old fogey. Now that I have grey hair and am horizontally-challenged, I can speak with some authority on advertising and research issues – which I will do from time-to-time on this blog.



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