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Netflix Viewers Jump as East Coast Residents Hunker Down

Netflix Inc. said the number of viewers on its service jumped today as East Coast residents hunkered down in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, the Atlantic’s Ocean’s biggest-ever tropical storm.

Online viewing rose 20 percent today from the same day a week ago, driven by increased streaming in New York, Washington, Boston, Philadelphia and Baltimore, spokesman Joris Evers said today in an e-mail.

“Initially, we saw a lot of kids’ titles being watched, a sign that kids are staying home from school,” Evers said.

Authorities have closed government offices in several states, airports and mass transit systems have been shut and residents have been warned to stay at home. U.S. stock markets are closed today and tomorrow because of the storm.

Netflix shares, which were not traded today, climbed 13 percent to $69.58 on Oct. 26.

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