October 30th, 2008
03:10 PM ET
5 years ago

Obama ad a ratings success

Obama's 30 minute ad was watched by nearly 30 million people.
Obama's 30 minute ad was watched by nearly 30 million people.

(CNN) - The major networks may just wish Barack Obama took up more airtime after taking a look at the ratings for the Democratic presidential candidate's 30-minute infomercial Wednesday night.

According to preliminary ratings numbers from the networks, more than 26 million people watched the program on CBS, NBC or Fox. That's 3 million more than usually watch those networks at that hour, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Averaging in the cable networks that also carried the event, about 30 million people in all saw the long-form campaign ad.

The ad was most watched on NBC, where nearly 10 million viewers tuned in. More than 8.5 million watched on CBS while just under 8 million viewed the program on Fox. On average, about 7 million people usually tune into each network at that hour.

Overall, according to Nielsen, for the six networks that aired the infomercial simultaneously, it scored a household rating of nearly 22 percent - meaning 22 percent of all households watching television at that hour tuned into the spot. That compares to the 38.3 household rating the last presidential debate scored.

Obama's combined audience beat the highest rated television show last week: CBS' CSI drew about 20 million viewers. It also drew more than double the viewers the average World Series game this year did.

But even if viewers didn't catch the spot when it first aired, clips of the program have repeatedly been broadcast across the cable news chanels Thursday, maximizing the Illinois senator's exposure in the crucial remaining days before Election Day.

"The strategic brilliance of this for Obama is that he is going to consume about 24 hours of the news cycle," Evan Tracey of Campaign Media Analysis Group said. "It boxes [John] McCain in, takes the oxygen out of the room."

It's unclear exactly how much the Obama campaign spent on the commercial in total, but estimates put the cost at least $3.5 million.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (638 Responses)
  1. Cindyloo

    GO OBAMA BIDEN '08!!!

    October 30, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  2. henriettap

    This ad was a portrait of the man that will rule the country with dignity and calm a person that really does care about the average American dream.Not one that gets rattled and confused when theres turmoil,a person that flies into Washington to say nothing a person that said the fundamentals of the economy were strong ,who did not know how many houses he owns now his camp is pulling not from the last straw but have now gone on to get Joe the plumber the plunger to see what might be left in the sewer since they are stopped up and can't seem to say anything that makes any sense on the economy.

    October 30, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  3. Brandon

    When Obama looses, please don't riot in the streets, but rather at all network news places. It will be because ALL of them have given you a false sense of hope that Obama would win this election.

    THE SLEEPING GIANT HAS YET TO VOTE. WE ARE GOING TO STOP THIS MEDIA PROTECTED, RADICAL IDEOLOGUE!!

    October 30, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  4. Enlightened Voter

    Compare mccain/palin's negativity, lies, smears, attacks, divisiveness to Obama's positive message and there really is no choice for us voters. Cnn lost out on this one!

    October 30, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  5. C A

    Robert The Man October 30th, 2008 3:43 pm ET
    Of course he had high ratings, everyone wants to see what a failure really looks like. Come the 4th everyone will know.

    On the countrary Robert. Everyone wanted to see what their next President had to say. I know it, you know it, but you can't admit it. To bad. Maybe in time you can get over it.

    October 30, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  6. keekers

    The $$ we sent the Obama campaign was well spent!!!
    Lets get a decent human being back in the WH.

    October 30, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  7. Hana abebe

    Joe the Plumber hahahaha McCain toast

    October 30, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  8. demwit

    Lat night Obama promised us Bill Gate's style education for all Americans. How soon before it comes to my failing school district??

    October 30, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  9. CAL

    Robert the man comments.

    Well first of all the man part of this name is questionable. LOL how in the heck can you relate failure to any part of Obama's campaign. mcsane and that big mouth barraccuda are the failures here. mccain has made the republicians a laughing stock of this country. Obama and Biden and the american people are the true winners here, thanks Obama and Biden, I know better days are coming!!!

    Obama/ Biden

    October 30, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  10. GOP Pay As You Go Society

    The smartest, best run, most strategic campaign in the primaries and now in the general election. Just watch the get out the vote campaign: shock and awe.

    GOP has no real answers and no true party leader. They are fragmented and torn between ideologies that are all failed or failing.

    I hope my Dems don't sc%@#w up this opportunity to create a political cultural change that truly embraces citizen leadership and participation.

    October 30, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  11. Real Talk

    To everyone criticizing the cost of this as. I donate my hard earned money to Senator Obama's campaign, and think that I just saw proof that it was a way better investment than my 401k. I hope people took a chance to actually listen to the plans he laid out, and how they will help our country rise from the republican ashes.

    October 30, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  12. Becky

    And McCain on Larry King Live said that Obama is NOT a Socialist. Maybe McCain should clue in Sarah Palin.

    Sarah Palin giving all Alaskans $2000 kinda sounds like "spreading the wealth around" to me...

    October 30, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  13. hangin from bakersfield

    just saw newsroom's rick sanchez pose a simple question to a blushing and bumbling michael goldfarb, a CHIEF mccain spokesman: who is barack obama's 'anti-semitic' buddy 'other' than khalidi? well, to goldfarb, the question may as well have been if rick had snapped goldfarb's bra strap. the mccain camp's spending at saks is much more defensible than feeding goldfarb. then again, he is a solid synecdoche for the lot of them.

    October 30, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  14. Patricia

    The arrogance of this guy knows no bounds. I am so sick of seeing his face plastered all over every network that we are all in danger of Obama-overdose. Does he has any idea that some of the public is turned off by this display of self-serving smugness and continuing to say the same old talking points without ever adding some truthfulness about just what he intends to do about taking from the most productive and handing out a welfare check to the dead beats in this country?

    October 30, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. Arsha, QC, Canada

    I watched the ad; I had tears running down my face. How sad that his Mom is not around to witness history being made. Obama is a brilliant person and I hope that he will be elected the next President of the United States. McCain knows deep down inside that this race is over but he will take it to the finish line; very comendable if only he could keep it honest. Enough of the attacks. McCain is in no position to tell Larry Kind that this election will not be decided based on "race". McCain/Palin are the biggest racists I have ever seen or heard from.

    Please win Obama.

    October 30, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  16. Gail

    Cathy Forster – Naples,Florida October 30th, 2008 3:31 pm ET

    Not here in Naples. Actually, not a lot of people watched here in Florida.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    who are you trying to kidd Cathy. Everybody in Florida watched it because Obama was IN Florida yesterday. He had a huge rally with Bill Clinton later that evening.

    Maybe you just don't know very many people.

    October 30, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  17. A Wannabee

    Didn't watch it. I watched McCain on Larry King. It was the best!

    OBAMA should spread HIS money on the poor people and stop buying up ADS...

    October 30, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  18. Susan

    Yes,
    I liked it.

    It much better than McCain's camp's idea of negative campaigning.

    Now Palin Diva is saying that Obama is palling with another radical. Did she look into McCain's closet?

    October 30, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  19. GA Independent

    Excellent... The perfect touch, the change we need.

    October 30, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  20. bburgin

    It was wonderful but I think Fox must have changed to Obama because they are killing McCain with the trash on Obama.

    October 30, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  21. vw

    This behavior came as Saddam.

    October 30, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  22. Clare

    The infomercial was great – thoughtful and sincere.
    McCain is starting to sound like a bitter old man (full of hate and resentment), and Palin is just getting ready for 2012....... she's already done with this election.

    October 30, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  23. A Unified Nation - Reaching out Beyond Ideology

    The smartest, best run, most strategic campaign in the primaries and now in the general election. Just watch the get out the vote campaign: shock and awe.

    GOP has no real answers and no true party leader. They are fragmented and torn between ideologies that are all failed or failing.

    I hope my Dems don't sc%@#w up this opportunity to create a political cultural change that truly embraces citizen leadership and participation.

    October 30, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  24. Matt, CO

    I <3 Obama

    October 30, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  25. No McCain

    This is good news...very pleased to hear this...

    OBAMA /BIDEN 08

    October 30, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
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