AP News

Superstorm wipes out New York's Nielsen ratings


NEW YORK (AP) — Superstorm Sandy has wiped out New York's Nielsen Co. ratings report for the month of November.

The company that measures television viewership said Tuesday that it won't issue a November ratings report for the New York market because so many of its sample homes were affected by the storm. Right after Sandy hit, some 450 of the 960 homes in the metropolitan area used by the company were out of power or worse.

Local news programs use the ratings for bragging rights against the competition. Ad prices for local commercials are also set by the numbers that Nielsen provides, meaning the stations and advertisers must negotiate rates taking into account disruptions in service, said Pat McDonough, senior vice president of insight and analysis at Nielsen.

"The marketplace has to decide how they will accommodate it," she said.

Sample homes began coming back as power was restored. But it has taken longer to get a representative sample of the area because some locales were hit harder than others, according to Nielsen.

After Nov. 9, Nielsen began providing overnight ratings again in the New York area for its clients to consult on a day-to-day basis.

It's the first time New York's ratings have been disrupted in this way, McDonough said. It has happened elsewhere in the past; the New Orleans market report was interrupted for a year following Hurricane Katrina.

Nielsen said 21 of its sample homes in the New York area were fully or partially destroyed by Sandy, forcing the company to find new ones.

Sandy had a slight impact on Nielsen's ability to report national results, mostly forcing the company to weight its samples differently to make up for homes knocked out by the storm, McDonough said.


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