CNBC Dumps Nielsen for Daytime Measurement

After years of complaining that Nielsen did not properly measure the daytime viewers of CNBC's business news, Comcast's NBCUniversal is turning to a different research company for audience numbers.

The move comes at a time when Nielsen is under pressure from the TV business. In addition to complaints about accuracy and mistakes, like a glitch that resulted in early season primetime ratings needing to be restated, programmers and advertisers want non-traditional viewership counted. Nielsen has struggled to come up with a way to measure out of home audiences and it is only slowly managing to count mobile viewing.

For CNBC, financial executives and traders in offices are an important part of its daytime audience.

"Throughout our 25 year history, traditional measurement companies have struggled to capture CNBC's audience of business executives, decision makers and affluent investors who watch our network from their corner offices, trading floors, five-star hotel rooms, country clubs, restaurants and health clubs," CNBC president Mark Hoffman said in a statement. "We are excited to begin to provide our marketing partners with a more complete understanding of the power and quality of our prestigious audience."

CNBC is working with Cogent Reports, which NBCU said will provide advertisers with "targeted consumption metrics" for CNBC's Business Day audience.

"Accurately measuring Business Day's total audience is one of our top priorities," said Linda Yaccarino, president, advertising sales, NBCUniversal. "We all know that TV measurement continues to lag far behind rapidly changing consumer viewing trends and CNBC's viewers have always been under-reported through Nielsen's in-home-only panel. Having these insights into the affluent and out-of-home viewers to whom CNBC is programming and the same group clients are trying to reach is an important step towards better campaign management and smarter programming decisions."

The Cogent Reports methodology continuously collects data through a survey-based measurement system that gathers information from more than 700 investors and 400 financial professionals each month.

Nielsen tried to downplay the significance of CNBC's defection.

"Nielsen has a long history of working with our clients to provide independent currency-based ratings upon which the industry can transact with confidence," the ratings company said in a statement. "For networks with niche audiences like CNBC, pure age and gender-based ratings are not always the best means against which to sell. These networks have always used alternative measures, which are provided by Nielsen as well as other insights and data providers in the market."

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.