CNBC Daytime To Drop Nielsen In Favor Of Cogent Reports

LAS VEGAS — Making a radical change to its viewership measurement, in response to what it says was its longtime problems, CNBC daytime programming will no longer be measured by Nielsen.

By the fourth quarter, the NBCUniversal channel will be measured by Cogent Reports, a research company of the financial/investment community. Cogent Reports surveys more than 700 investors and 400 financial professionals each month.

For over 25 years, the network has had problems with Nielsen in measuring key investment/financial viewers — especially those out-of-home viewers who watch in offices and trading floors.

“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,” stated Mark Hoffman, president of CNBC.

NBCUniversal executives will be at Consumer Electronics Show later on Tuesday to discuss the change.

Recently, CNBC has shown improvements in viewership under traditional Nielsen measurements. For total day viewers in 2014, it had 138,000 viewers (35th place) versus 130,000 in 2013 (39th place). For prime time, overall prime-time viewership was 289,000 (57th place) in 2014, up from 201,000 total prime-time viewers (52nd place).

CNBC’s 18-49 viewership data also gained -- prime-time 18-49 viewers were 115,000 (63rd place), up from 67,000 18-49 prime-time viewers (48th place). Last year, total day 18-49 viewers averaged 41,000 (50th place) up from 30,000 (79th place.)

5 comments about "CNBC Daytime To Drop Nielsen In Favor Of Cogent Reports".
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  1. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, January 6, 2015 at 5:50 p.m.

    Let's get a few facts straight on this first Monday of 2015:
    1. With the exception of TVNEWSER, most of the headlines and stories about this situation have been incorrect or misleading today. COMCAST, NBC and CNBC have not cancelled or substantially defected from any Nielsen service.
    2. CNBC's Cogent Research decision doesn't really sound ... well, "cogent." It would appears that CNBC plans to use their new TV Ratings research like a drunk uses a lamp post: more for support than illumination. Paul Rittenberg's marketplace assessment in the WSJ sounds on point. And from a quantitative methods perspective, the "statistics of convenience" have always had an enormous "standard error."
    3. Finally, publishers need a better method of curating comments. The anti-Semitic attack on Mr. Hoffman (published elsewhere) was egregious and outrageous. Furthermore, the ratings analyses found in many comments (published elsewhere) were laced with nonsense and error. While Freedom of Speech is protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution and is fundamental to American Democracy, venomous falsehoods are simply evil and wrong -- and have no place in this country's Media & Marketing Trade Press.

  2. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, January 6, 2015 at 6:47 p.m.

    1) Mr. Schiavone is right. Our original headline on this story was misleading. It's been updated. 2) I can't comment on CNBC's logic for using an alternative source like Cogent Reports, but it is not without precedent. In the mid-1980s, ESPN ran a morning business news network -- "Business Times" -- within its network, and utilized OCR's Executive Caravan study as the basis of its audience estimates, largely because it believed Nielsen's methods weren't capable of representing the niche executive audience that the programming was aimed at. 3) Agree 100% with Mr. Schiavone's observations about hate speech posing as comments. Where did those "Hoffman" comments appear. I don't recall seeing them on MediaPost. -- Editor

  3. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, January 6, 2015 at 10:17 p.m.

    Dear Mr. Mandese,
    Thank you for your thoughtful, responsible reply and for taking charge of the editorial issue I raised.
    To the best of my knowledge and memory, the anti-Semitic attack on Mr. Hoffman appeared this morning in the online comments section of the "Wall Street Journal."
    I have searched through 112 comments tonight and could not find it again.
    However, I noticed two things in the "WSJ Online" Comments Section this evening that I had not noticed this morning.
    First, some comment authors had taken their comments "private." (How can once public comments become private?)
    Second, other WSJ comment accounts were labeled as "under review" or investigation by the WSJ.
    In the meantime, as evidence of the despicable nature of a number of the "WSJ Online" Comments, I found another hideous comment posted at 1 PM (01.06.15) on "WSJ Online" regarding MSNBC, Rachel Maddow, the Nielsen Company and the LGBT Community.
    Below is the comment precisely as it appears in the "WSJ Online."
    Below that comment, I shall provide a link to the WSJ article that I read this morning.
    WSJ Comment:
    "Clint Tarkoe 9 hours ago (approx. 1 PM)
    (CNBC) Has been dumb-downed ever since Mark Haines died. (CNBC) Has become more like the 'Price is Right.'
    In related news, 'MSNBC' has announced it is also changing rating services to Maddow Research to track its night-time audience. Nielsen failed to cover adequately the persons with no abilities and LGBT persons who watch its programs."
    WSJ link to the CNBC Nielsen Ratings Story
    http://www.wsj.com/articles/cnbc-to-stop-using-nielsen-for-ratings-1420520556
    Thanks again.
    Sincerely,
    Nicholas P. Schiavone

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, January 7, 2015 at 11:08 a.m.

    It's common for upscale magazines to subscribe to audience studies that target the constituencies they are most concerned with, using much larger samples than the regular syndicated services, but this does not mean that they can dismiss the latter, out of hand, as is implied in this article. Rather, the ancillary study, which often uses a somewhat different methodology, is used in tandem with the standard syndicated service findings, offering a presumed refinement and, of course, the larger sample. However, a larger upscale sample does not automatically guarantee a more accurate audience estimate. In this case, it seems that CNBC is doing exactly the same thing as the business and other affluent- oriented magazines have done for years and good luck to it.

  5. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, January 7, 2015 at 2:40 p.m.

    Ed Papazian is spot-on ... and does not need me to tell him.

    What will be interesting to see is if Cogent Reports' samples are robust "probability" samples, as opposed to potentially misleading "convenience" or "judgment" samples. One cannot discern from the reporting to data by any source that I've read. All leads welcome.

    The CNBC target here, according to MediaDaily News, is: "Cogent Reports surveys more than 700 investors and 400 financial professionals each month." (sic)

    In additions to matters of accuracy (or validity), as Mr. Papazian explains, there are also the matters of reliability (or stability) to be considered. What kind of standard errors is CNBC talking about or does the term have any meaning whatsoever in this research context? Speaking of print media, "Enquiring minds need to know!"

    The simplest way for advertising, marketing and media professionals to get a good assessmernt of what Cogent Reports are really made of is to conduct an MRC (Media Rating Council) audit before the data are used as currency.

    At least CNBC's Nielsen data are E&Y audited and MRC accredited at this moment.

    It would be unfortunate for the industry to rely on data that are less good.

    Onwards & Upwards

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