Advanced Television

Hurricane Sandy still causing broadcast problems

November 20, 2012

By Chris Forrester

Some broadcasters are still mopping up after Hurricane Sandy, but now the all-important number crunchers are worrying at how the storm affected their ratings.

This week, Nielsen is holding a special webinar for its clients where it will disclose the impact – in ratings terms – that Sandy caused. He storm knocked out some Nielsen metered homes in the Eastern USA which affected its sampling process, and there has been criticism that some ratings numbers have been inflated or over-stated.

Nielsen says that power and cable outages during the past month means it will not be providing ratings information for the USA’s largest and most valuable TV market for the month.

The problem for broadcasters is that the pre-Thanksgiving and pre-Christmas season represents the peak advertising weeks of the year, and advertisers want to reach every home that they are paying for. If it were only a few hundred – or even a few thousand – homes then that could be allowed for, but when the storm disabled millions of homes then advertisers are insisting that ad-rates be adjusted accordingly.

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