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CNBC to opt out of Nielsen ratings

MUMBAI: Business news network CNBC will soon become the first network to drop its reliance on Nielsen TV ratings to measure its daytime audience.

As per a report in the Wall Street Journal, beginning later this year, the network will stop using Nielsen ratings as the basis for the sale of advertising on its daytime schedule to advertisers. It has instead retained marketing and research firm Cogent Reports for the task.

Cogent Reports will reportedly provide advertisers with data that will help them determine the price of ad time on the cable network. It will start using Cogent ratings in the fourth quarter of 2015.

The company will survey over 1,000 investors and financial advisers on their media habits during the day and use that data to provide ratings for CNBC. It will mark the first time that Cogent Reports, a unit of Market Strategies International, will be measuring the audience of a TV network.

The report states that CNBC and its parent company Comcast Corp ’s NBCUniversal have since long complained that Nielsen underreports the size and wealth of its audience by failing to track “out of home” viewing in places like offices and airports.

While many media companies say they are frustrated with Nielsen, CNBC is the first network to opt out of its ratings.

CNBC president Mark Hoffman told WSJ, “Nielsen has never measured us accurately. If we can’t count the people the right way we can’t get paid the right way.”

In a letter last month to NBCUniversal, Nielsen acknowledged the limitations of its ratings. Nielsen executive vice president Sara Erichson wrote, “To the extent that CNBC’s daytime audiences draw heavily from people watching outside the home, our ratings data would not be reflective of that viewing.”

Nielsen will continue to measure CNBC’s evening programmes, which include reruns of ‘Shark Tank’.

CNBC’s daytime Nielsen ratings, which always have been relatively small, have fallen sharply over the past decade. In 2014, its least-watched year since 1995, CNBC had an average audience of 177,000 people from 9:30 am and 5 pm, according to Nielsen. That is down 17 per cent from an average of 214,000 viewers in 2004, and it is a drop of 13 per cent from 2013, the report highlights.