Comscore Local TV Ratings During Hurricane Harvey Confirm Viewer Reliance on Local Television Stations as a Trusted Source of Breaking News & Safety Updates
Comscore’s Massive, Passive Measurement System Provides Ratings Even as Natural Disasters Are Unfolding in Local Markets
RESTON, VA, September 17, 2017 – Comscore has released ratings information on consumer viewing activity in all Texas markets – including the massively-impacted Houston and Beaumont TV markets prior to, during and following the landfall of Hurricane Harvey – and announced that it will also report TV ratings data for Hurricane Irma-impacted markets in Florida.
Comscore Local, which provides daily measurement of viewer behavior via direct observation of local viewing activity in millions of homes in all 210 markets, is able to provide the industry with reliable viewing information for all Harvey-impacted markets. Because of Comscore’s large measurement footprints in each market, viewing estimates could still be produced during the storm, despite the very real impact power outages and temporary home abandonment had on viewership as a result of the hurricane.
On Sunday, August 27, as Harvey approached the Texas coast and the flooding began to unfold, Comscore Local TV data showed that homes not affected by outages clearly saw much higher overall TV viewership compared to the corresponding day the previous week. This difference was most pronounced in the morning and early afternoon hours, but continued to be evident throughout the entire day. Comscore data shows that, during the storm, viewers were especially reliant on local broadcast stations to obtain critical information about the storm’s path, the flood’s expansion and how best to protect family and property.
In Houston, the combined total-day average audience for the ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX affiliates was more than 537,000 households during Hurricane Harvey, a 140% increase vs. the prior week. The share of viewership to the four major affiliate stations increased by 62% vs. to prior week, as well.
In Beaumont during Hurricane Harvey, the major TV stations’ average audience was double that of the relevant cable channels across the entire broadcast day, and represented an 89% increase in viewership versus the prior week’s audiences.
"The Hurricane-related devastation in Texas and Florida reminds us all that Mother Nature can unleash terrible fury upon us and our neighbors from time to time, and local television stations have been, and clearly remain, a vital source of information for viewers across the country in times of severe trouble in local markets,” said Comscore’s Executive Vice President of Local Television, Steve Walsh. “We are pleased that Comscore Local TV measurement can withstand the impact of weather-related power outages and continue to reflect real viewing activity as it happens, providing local markets large and small with the viewing data they need to understand their audiences.”
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