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Hurricane Sandy Drives Social Media Revenue


While most media outlets are likely to suffer losses because of the storm, sites like Facebook and Twitter are poised to make gains.

MINYANVILLE ORIGINAL As one might expect, the blackouts and infrastructure damage caused by Hurricane Sandy are costing media outlets and communication companies millions of dollars in lost revenue. According to an article by Media Post News, the advertising industry could lose up to $500 million in revenue from previously scheduled inventory on local TV and radio stations.

However, while a bane for old media, Sandy's destruction is a boon for social media sites like Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) and Twitter, where discussions, pictures, and news reports are filling up their pages. The aforementioned article states that research company General Sentiment says the total value of the storm's online impact discussion may be worth over $80 million. Breaking it down, Twitter alone stands to make $60 million from the news about Sandy, while news media sites are expected to rake in an extra $12 million, with other social networks earning another $9.2 million.

Indeed, with the reality of downed power lines and damaged telephone towers, many have taken to the Internet to read up on the latest news and are using social media to communicate with loved ones. In addition, YouTube (NASDAQ:GOOG) has offered those without television easy access to news about Sandy through the account Citizen Tube, which aggregates videos detailing Sandy's movements and aftermath.

Twitter was quick to facilitate the rescue effort by creating a page dedicated to Sandy that included posts from government organizations, politicians, and public safety officials, as well as weather reports. The page is being used by organizations like FEMA and the FDNY to direct people toward shelters and away from hazardous areas.

Social networking sites have also been instrumental in helping users that were trapped by the storm communicate with rescue teams and directing the clean-up effort. An article by The Wrap lists multiple stories of Twitter being used as a lifeline to connect those in need with good Samaritans and safety officials.

Sandy is also boosting Facebook's usage as well as the usage of its acquired property Instagram, as amateur photographers were out in force before and during the storm. These users have filled the sites with pictures of the storm's devastation. Although many of these pictures were taken simply to record the sights of the storm, they can also be used by rescue and clean-up teams to identify areas that need assistance.

Perhaps it's a sign of how quickly social media sites are growing, but Sandy's media value on the Internet alone far outstrips Irene's $17 million media value last year. The silver lining here is that these sites are not just earning profits; they are also providing support in the region's recovery effort.
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