CNBC is 1st net to dump Nielsen, will others follow?

The first shoe of what could be a closetful has dropped in the form of CNBC today saying it would stop using rating from Nielsen to measure the audience it pulls for its daytime lineup.

The reason? Nielsen, it says, doesn’t track its out-of-home audience, reports the Wall Street JournalThe business news net said it will use data from Cogent Reports instead.

CNBC, owned by Comcast’s NBCUniversal, is the first network to drop Nielsen. The big question, of course, is: Will others follow?

Nielsen also has faced criticism for not tracking online and mobile audiences, something it’s attempted to resolve in a partnership with Adobe. Last fall it began reporting viewership on mobile devices, but only ads and episodes were exactly the same as those broadcast. But ad content rights often make that unworkable, and broadcasters complain that their total reach isn’t being represented.

Advertisers, meanwhile, have been hesitant to buy spots for over-the-top content because they say they don’t know who’s consuming them.

User data remains critical to the expansion of online video, even more so for mobile devices, especially as the consumption of mobile online video continues to soar.

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn