Millions of Americans braced for Sandy over the last couple of days. Schools and offices closed across the Eastern Seaboard, sending everyone home.

So what did all these temporary homebodies do? By and large, they turned to Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX).

Bloomberg reports that Netflix saw a 20% jump in streaming views on Monday, compared to the previous week. The driver? Tons of additional eyeballs from Boston to Baltimore.

Think about this for a minute. A 20% increase in total viewing hours means a substantially larger gain in the affected area -- the mid-Atlantic states are home to about 70 million people, or 22% of the American population. To make Netflix's nationwide average soar like that, the affected area must roughly double its viewing hours.

I'm sure that Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) would report higher viewership as well as people while away a rainy day in anticipation of a coming disaster. The Weather Channel looks like a big winner. Board games and diary writing are other likely gainers. Some people may even have started conversations, for crying out loud! Who knows where that might lead?

But there's no doubt that Netflix is a popular option to fill those empty hours. Check out Monday's Twitter stream for more evidence:

@PizzaGlGl
Watching @theofficenbc on netflix for as long as my electricity lets me! #Frankenstorm #Sandy

@RubinReport
Gonna watch Thor on Netflix. I think Sandy is his scorned ex-girlfriend. Will look for clues.

@40oz_VAN
Very cozy in Westchester right now, power never went off, no flooding in the crib, Netflix still on.

And then the storm moves on -- and the word-of-mouth advertising accelerates. Looks like Sandy will help Netflix mend some of the brand damage it took in the old Qwikster debacle.

Fool contributor Anders Bylund owns shares of Netflix and has created a bull call spread on top of his shares, but he holds no other position in any company mentioned. Check out Anders' bio and holdings, or follow him on Twitter and Google+. Click here to see his holdings and a short bio.

The Motley Fool owns shares of Netflix. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Netflix. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bear put ladder position in Netflix. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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