NEW YORK, NY (October 31, 2012) – News Corporation today announced it will donate $1 million to help victims of Hurricane Sandy — $500,000 to the Mayor’s Fund for NYC and $500,000 for relief in New Jersey. The storm affected millions of people and, with the Company’s global headquarters in New York City, had a direct impact on the communities within which many News Corporation employees live and work.
AT&T and T-Mobile USA have reached a temporary agreement to enable roaming on their networks to customers of both providers in areas most affected by Sandy. Customers will be able to place calls as they normally do, but the calls will be carried over whichever network is up and running in their area, CNET reports. The companies say there will be no roaming charges or fees associated with the calls and subscribers’ current service agreements will remain in place. The arrangement is possible because both carriers run on GSM and UMTS networks. Yesterday the FCC said that 25 percent of cell sites in Sandy’s path had been knocked offline. The FCC said today the number had improved by a few percentage points but couldn’t provide an exact number, according to PC Magazine.
Separately, Verizon worked to repair damage at its Lower Manhattan headquarters where 3 1/2 of 5 basement floors were still flooded. Switching equipment on upper floors wasn’t damaged but connections for incoming lines remain under water. Verizon was also working to restore telephone hubs in other locations downtown. The company announced this afternoon that workers had successfully erected a temporary wireless antenna in Jersey Ci]oty across the Hudson River from Lower Manhattan.
The 2012 American Film Market gets underway tomorrow with more than 120 new buying companies and a 10% increase in buyers, organizers say. The 2,000-plus projects set for the annual Santa Monica confab October 31-November 7 will be on offer from the roughly 350 companies that are exhibiting. Hurricane Sandy‘s impact on attendance is still unclear: AFM said Monday that arrivals for about 15 companies may be delayed due to the storm. “It’s primarily New York-based companies or those connecting through New York from Europe,” an AFM spokesperson said. More than 440 motion pictures — including 82 world premieres and 327 market premieres from more than 70 countries — are scheduled to screen over the eight days. Films premiering include ones starring Annette Bening, Helena Bonham Carter, Chow Yun-Fat, Jennifer Connelly, Roman Coppola, Elle Fanning, James Franco, Christina Hendricks, Dustin Hoffman, Kate Hudson, Julianne Moore, Bill Murray, Gwyneth Paltrow, Mark Ruffalo, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Alexander Skarsgård, Juno Temple, Kristen Wiig and Elijah Wood.
Here’s a clip released by CBS from Tuesday night’s The Late Show With David Letterman, the second show in a row without an audience. He again directed his monologue to the band, reporting on the latest with Hurricane Sandy, which he noted was an odd name “for such a miserable force of nature”. “Economic losses could reach $20 billion – and most of that is in paper towels”, he quipped.
The Weather Channel’s coverage of Hurricane Sandy beat all the cable news networks in primetime among adults 25-54 and in overall day viewership. TWC’s viewership peaked to 1.44 million in the demographic Monday during the 10 PM hour. That outperformed the 1.043 million CNN topped in the demo last night during Piers Morgan Tonight at 9 PM. It also beat the demo high of 924,000 in that Fox News Channel’sThe Fox Report with Shepard Smith had in the 7 PM slot and the 611,000 best demo that MSNBC had for its Rachel Maddow Show at 9 PM ET. The Weather Channel had 2.03 million viewers on average over the entire day. Fox News was second with 1.98 million viewers on average over the day. Flipping it around, the Weather Channel was second only to FNC with total primetime average viewership on Monday. The channel had a primetime total viewership average of 3.13 million on Monday. FNC had 3.53 million with CNN getting 2.34 million and MSNBC pulling in 1.40 million. Monday was the Comcast-owned network’s third highest total day average since it launched on May 2, 1982. Only when Hurricane Irene made landfall on August 27, 2011 (2.45 million) and when Hurricane Katrina made landfall on August 28, 2005 (2.27 million) did TWC had higher overall viewership.
Hurricane Sandy is “more serious, and has caused more damage that has affected more shows and movies, than I can remember” from a similar disaster, says Brian Kingman, managing director of Gallagher Entertainment, a leading insurance broker for producers. It’s still too early to say how much the storm will cost media and entertainment companies, or the firms that insure them. Movies and TV shows hit by a weather disaster often lose more from carrying costs tied to shooting delays than from property damage. So a lot depends on how quickly services resume in production sites including New York City, where 1.8M people are without electricity, mass transportation is down, and several major bridges and tunnels are still closed. The NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment revoked all film permits for Monday and today. It says that it will approve permits tomorrow for “qualified stages” but not exterior shoots.
Fox News Channel’s primetime coverage last night of Hurricane Sandy came in first place among the cable news networks, but CNN was tops in the 25-54 demographic. Fox News had 3.54 million viewers and 875,000 in the demo Monday night, according to Nielsen. CNN had 2.34 million viewers last night but 1.008 million in the 25-54 demo. MSNBC was third among the cable news networks in viewership and the demo, drawing 1.4 million viewers on average with 477,000 in the demo. Fox News’ Fox Report With Shepard Smith was the most watched show of the night among the cable news networks. The 8 PM hour of the show, which ran from 7-9 PM last night, garnered 3.94 million viewers on average, with 924,000 in the demo. Typically, The O’Reilly Factor is shown in that slot on Fox News. Anderson Cooper 360, also in the 8 PM slot, was the second-most-watched cable news show of the night with an audience of 2.35 million, but it beat Smith in the demo with 1.02 million watching. CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight had the highest demo audience of the night, with 1.04 million adults 25-54 watching the 9 PM show.
With the East Coast ravaged by Hurricane Sandy, Nielsen just put up a note that ratings for last night are delayed until around 1 PM ET due to impact from the storm. Only NBC and ABC aired their lineups in originals last night, with CBS and the CW switching to reruns and Fox already slated for repeats because of its World Series coverage. Ratings will likely be impacted by the storm, which caused massive evacuations and power outages. By the beginning of primetime on the East Coast, more than 2 million were without power. That number has now climbed to 7.5 million.
UPDATE, 3:30 PM: The New York Stock Exchange will suspend trading for a second day because of weather for the first time since 1888. “It’s a monumental event, and we take it very seriously,” said Larry Liebowitz, COO of NYSE Euronext, the company that operates the NYSE. “It’s not a hyped-up drama.” Leibowitz spoke shortly at 2 PM ET after conference calls with stock brokerage firms, regulators and officials during which a “consensus” emerged to close markets for a second day. He was “optimistic” the markets would reopen Wednesday.
PREVIOUS, 7:30 AM: The New York Stock Exchange ditched its plan to provide electronic trading on its NYSE ARCA exchange. Following NASDAQ’s decision last night to close because of Hurricane Sandy, it means that today will be the first unplanned day without stock trading since 9/11, the AP reports. It’s also the first time weather has closed the markets since Hurricane Gloria in 1985. If the markets are closed tomorrow, then it will be the first time the stock exchanges have been shuttered for two days due to weather since … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Forget the postponement announced this morning by Harvey Weinstein and National Geographic that moved today’s premiere of Seal Team 6: The Raid On Osama Bin Laden to Thursday. The film’s playing in DC today after all, with one major change: the screening will be held at 6 PM at the Hay Adams Hotel (where Weinstein is staying, and which is a block away from the White House at 800 16th Street Northwest). Weinstein tells me that the Hurricane Sandy postponement left him feeling blue, and when the hotel manager asked why and learned of the scrapped screening, the manager offered up his 50-inch screen in a ballroom overlooking the White House and the Washington Monument, and Weinstein made a decision. “The show must go on,” he said. “We don’t want anybody to be unsafe, but if you’re just walking across the street or down the block, why not come? I see the lights on in the White House and I’m sure President Obama is working, but if he wants to take a 90-minute dinner break, he should come too. We’ll have food, and Senator Dodd is coming and so is Secretary of Housing Shaun Donovan. I’m extending a bipartisan invite. If you’re around, come and see the film.” He’s got a projectionist pal to run the movie, and his daughter and her friends are setting up tables. All of it is reminiscent of the … Read More »
Hurricane Sandy’s assault on the East Coast today compelled National Geographic Channel to move tonight’s Washington DC premiere screening of Seal Team 6: The Raid on Osama bib Laden.The screening of the TV movie has now been shifted to Thursday at 7 PM at DC’s Newseum. Directed by John Stockwell, Seal Team 6 is scheduled to air November 4, two days before the Presidential election. Produced by Nicolas Chartier and distributed by The Weinstein Co, the film chronicles the operation that led to the killing of the al-Qaeda leader and represents NatGEO’s first broadcast of a feature inspired by real-life events. The movie will be available on Netflix the day after its debut on NatGeo. Meanwhile, Kathryn Bigelow’s feature about the hunt for bin Laden opens in theaters a month later, on Dec. 19.
Just like it did with Hurricane Irene last year, satcaster DirecTV has launched a dedicated channel for 24/7 information on Hurricane Sandy, which is projected to hit the East Coast this evening. The service began broadcasting at 9 AM ET this morning on viewer channels 325 and 349.
Moviegoing from Washington DC to Connecticut will be slammed by Hurricane Sandy starting tonight and continuing Monday. Many theaters in the lucrative NYC market — 2nd biggest in North America after LA — already are dark until Tuesday after sending employees home early because of Frankenstorm. AMC stopped selling tickets after 3 PM, and Clearview Cinemas and City Cinemas and Angelika Film Center soon after. Regal theatres planned to keep open Sunday night but will close Monday. All Gotham public transportation shuts down as of 7 PM today and mandatory evacuations are proceeding. Box office nationally will suffer -12% to -25% on what already was a weak weekend.