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New Orleans Rates Again

July 8, 2007 9:00 PM

Nearly two years after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and much of the Gulf Coast, overnight ratings returned to the Crescent City last Thursday. Stations will have two weeks to adjust to the picture the data presents before advertising agencies and other clients begin receiving the same data.

The Nielsen Media Research profile of the rebuilding city shows it is smaller (the 43rd-largest market in the country before Katrina; No. 54 now) and very different demographically. For a number of reasons -- some likely related to who has been able to afford to rebuild and their choices in replacing such things as TV sets -- the sample of 400 set-top metered households is higher-income than before, includes cell-phone-only users and has higher than usual hi-def penetration, according to a Nielsen representative.

Nielsen had hoped to have the sample up and running earlier this year, but had to spend more time than expected becoming acquainted with what the data showed about the rebuilt, and effectively state-of-the-art, sample. There were some meter glitches that showed a lot of "blue-screen" tuning, which indicates TVs being used for activities other than regular TV viewing.

The Nielsen rep said New Orleans now may be a leading indicator for other markets.

"I think we will be seeing things in New Orleans earlier than we would see them in other markets," the rep said. -- Michele Greppi

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