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Blackout affects Nielsen data

Not surprisingly, problems with collecting data in multiple cities have created "indefinite delays" in the release of prime-time network Nielsen Media Research ratings from Thursday night, when much of the Northeast was in the dark through Sunday, the ratings company said Monday.

The company said the data will be released Monday, or "as soon as it becomes available," but a source said Nielsen hasn't decided whether to publish the ratings with an asterisk or to withhold them entirely.

Nielsen has also notified some clients that overnight network and syndicated metered-market ratings for New York and Buffalo, N.Y.; Detroit; and Cleveland will be excluded from Thursday 6 a.m. until at least Friday 5:59 a.m. due to the power outages.

There are a total of 55 metered markets.

National syndication numbers will also likely be impacted.
With a number of top markets blacked out, including No. 1 New York and No. 10, Detroit, researchers anticipated that national numbers for syndicated shows there that have clearances after 4:15 p.m. NYT, when the blackout hit, will be affected.

The ratings for those programs will likely be broken out, meaning that they won't count toward -- or, in this case, against -- season averages. That happens when coverage drops by more than 10%.