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. John

    If Palin can buy a $2,500 a day of expensive clothes with money from Republican donors, then Obama surely can use the money his donors gave him to get elected. Who do you want running for President, someone who uses money to get elected to go shopping during an economic crisis or someone who uses money donors have contributed to bring his message home to voters?
    I can't imagine voting someone into office who will use our hard earned tax money to go shopping at expensive stores. Is that what McCain means about tax breaks for the rich? If that's all the rich are spending their money on, then they should think about their country first and pay taxes like everyone else.Obama/Biden '08 Country First!

    October 30, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  2. Kate

    Even the anti-obama contributors here have nothing but silliy innuendo (complaining he has bad friends, but can't provide anything substantial as to how those relationships cause a problem) or appeear to suffer from the Stockholm syndrome. McCain supporters who are not currently millionaires please tell me: What have the republicans done for you lately? Or done for you at all?

    October 30, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  3. SB for BO

    Love it! If there are undecideds still out there something is wrong with them. I haven't seen McNasty lay out a plain and simple plan for Americans yet. Negative talking about terrorists and taxes (yes, we all pay them) gives me a yarn. How about telling the ones who will vote for you something they NEED to hear instead of the smear tactics. At least leave the campaign with your integrity in tact.

    Songbird: everything you called wasted is just what Americans need at this time–Unity, Progress and Hope...instead of more of the same BUSSSHED policies. And you should be scared of that....

    October 30, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  4. Denise OKC

    I enjoyed it.....Very well put together. I appreciate listening to the stories of other Americans and their issues. Made me realize that I am truly blessed to not have been hit as hard by the economy crisis. Thank God and I pray for my fellow Americans. We will work through this together!
    Obama/Biden 08 **For sure**

    October 30, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. Woman for Obama

    I truly believe that if mccain wins it because they paid somone to cheat!!! Because he does not deserve to become Presidant. Obama has shown me He CAN HANDLE Being comander an chief of our country... Obama won my vote!!!!

    October 30, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  6. Michael watching from Canada

    What irony?

    McCain complains that Obama refused to take Public Funding (which I am to understand is taxpayer money).

    So McCain takes taxpayer money to support his campaign (Obama does not) and then McCain calls Obama a socialist!!

    October 30, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  7. Bill - Ann Arbor, MI

    It was GREAT! Very touching. Almost a tear jerker, definitely compelling & I watched it again online after. :-) I am glad Obama has a plan and a positive message, unlike McCain & crew.
    Go Obama!

    October 30, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  8. Mike

    I loved it! I thought it was incredibly well done and Obama cointinues to give me hope that we can get beyond the ideologically driven idiocy of the last eight years.

    YOUNG PEOPLE NEED TO GET OFF THEIR BUTTS AND START VOTING!!!! I've read several articles indicating that people under 35 are not partaking in the early voting nearly as much as older voters. WE NEED YOU TO FOLLOW THROUGH WITH YOUR VOTE!

    GO OBAMA!

    October 30, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  9. Pamela Rainsong

    I voted early. I live in Clearwater Florida. The doors opened at 7:30 AM at the Pinellas County Supervisor's of Elections office, and there was a line. The scanners appeared to be working fine. I think my ballot went through okay.

    I pray that it did.

    Obama/Biden 2008

    October 30, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  10. KM

    Hey RFEERO – Turn off your cap locks and put the bottle of Jack down. You've been drinking too much..again!

    October 30, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  11. Mike. OH

    Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid DID NOTHING to stop the financial crisis, Freddie and Fannie caused, while they were in control of Congress for the last two years.

    OBAMA = PELOSI and REID...Say NO to MORE OF THE SAME!!!

    October 30, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  12. oh no

    maybe Joe the singing "plumber" could host like a HSN show and market his own plumbing tools..... and have Palin and Mccain there for there testimonials.

    October 30, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  13. Brandon from Ohio

    Absolutely - it was very inspirational - pretty much the opposite of everything John McCain has done (or hasn't). This will be my first Democratic vote ever for President. McSame can head back to one of his 7 homes to drive one of his 13 cars in the desert to say hello to all of his illegal alien buddies, while Daily Scandal Palin can head back to her igloo. I hope I never see either of them on national television again.

    October 30, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  14. wycliffe, NJ

    OBAMA SPENT MY MONEY WELL...AND NOW FULLY TRUST HIM IN THE OVAL OFFICE

    October 30, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  15. bburgin

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

    October 30, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  16. AM in VA

    How sad to see the man who worked for a company for more than 20 years and then has only a $350 per month pension after being promised much more. It's happening all over the USA today, companies are doing away with pension plans and going with 401K plans (in time for the market crash). Obama has much more empathy for the working man than John McCain.

    October 30, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  17. David Goldman

    MAN SPENT MY MONEY WELL !!!

    OUR MONEY

    OUR COUNTRY

    OUR PRESIDENT

    OUR FUTURE

    GOD BLESS HIM & THE ALL AMERICANS.

    October 30, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  18. RICARDO

    INSPIRING????????????HOW DEPRESSING.A WOMAN WHO CANT AFFORD MILK?BUT HAS CAR,CAN PAY FOR HER FANCY NAILS?? WHAT A JOKE

    October 30, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  19. Ken

    California Voter: It is quite telling for you and YOUR GOP party that you would equate a frivolous expeniture on personal items with true campaign expenditures that are an investment in our country. Looks like the slack-jawed live in every state. I think Obama spent the money sent to him wisely, including last nights air time. You are welcome, if you wish, to accept the fact that contributions to McCain's campaign were spent spiffing up his trailer-trash side-kick.....but it just goes to show where the real priorities are in the new [R] party of neo-tards.

    October 30, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  20. Lisa

    Thank you Obama for using the money that we, the people donated to your campaign to transmit a positive message of Hope for this country's future. Unfortunately, McCain's campaign cannot transmit something that they do not have. Keep up the good work.
    Barrack Obama 2008

    October 30, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  21. Darrell Burks

    I am happy that over 20 million viewers got to see the Barack Obama that I have come to know over the last 4 years. He is a man of integrity, vision and with a leadership ability that I have not witness in my lifetime. I can not wait until 5 days from now to proudly say – President-Elect Barack Obama as my President.

    Vote Barack Obama!!!!

    October 30, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  22. MY FRIENDS - REPUBLI-KLANS JOA$$HN McINSANE/PAIN-LIN ARE SPREADING HATE & BIGOTRY IN AMERICA

    VOTE STRAIGHT DOWN THE LINE DEMOCRATIC TICKET.

    VOTE EARLY – BARACK THE VOTE.

    October 30, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  23. Jeanne H.

    The reason why Obama's ad was a success because people are so tired of watching McCain recite over and over the same complaints, attacks, excuses... people want to see and hear something positive and hopeful. I am not offended by Obama's "socialist" speeches at all. In fact, like the majority of americans, I don't make nearly close to $250K a year (and I am a successful professional), so I'd be glad when the wealth gets spread around to me a little!!!! What's wrong with that? Nothing!

    October 30, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  24. Larisa, Chicago IL

    As always, it's brilliant.
    I can sign up under every word from Rena in her long message.
    Just one addition – hope you hear Bill Clinton yesterday. And as usual he pointed out on 4 most important thinks: basic ideology, new policies, DECISION MAKING AND EXECUTING THESE DECISIONS.
    If Barak Obama will run country the way he ran his campaign, there is the hope that country will eventually return to the right path. His ability to gain knowledge, pull together the right people as advisers, and base his final decision on understanding the problem is the most important think. Time and again he shows the incredible intelligence, and our country NEED SMART PRESIDENT NOW!

    October 30, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  25. The Watcher

    CNN and ABC did what they were supposed to do. Just playing their roles. It's all part of the show. Dare you to post this...

    October 30, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
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