October 30th, 2008
03:10 PM ET
6 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. white and black for Obama

    MccainBush policies. Mccain has nothing of his own, what Mccainbush wish for is to have his name on the list of America Presidency.

    Period.
    My point is why does he surround himself with Bush's advisers and policy makers?

    Sorry guys. that is true just take a look at Mccain campaign team, it is written all over..ex bush campaign managers, advisors list goes on.
    What will be different between Bush and Mccain? Personality.

    October 30, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. Tina

    BRILLIANT.......................

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

    Leaders LEAD and bring together differences among people for a common good/purpose, not attack, point fingers and divide everyone!

    October 30, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  4. Please vote for Obama

    This man intellect is so grandiose, compared to old man mccain. Our gov't has been in the stone age and Obama just keeps using technology to feed information and energize the world. He's just so smart, please vote for the ivy league guy with all a's. No more dumb people in the white house (no offense George W.).

    October 30, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  5. ST

    WOW! That's better than I thought it would be. He has definitely raised the bar. McCain/Palin can't even compare.

    October 30, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  6. GIVE PEACE A CHANCE, VOTE A STRAIGHT DEMOCRATIC TICKET

    Just more proof that the American people are tired of McCrypt and his style of campaigning. Using socialism, communism, unpatriotic, and unAmerican rhtetoric to label folks that simply view government in a different way, but not our country.

    McCrypt has become a petty, churlish, little man.

    October 30, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  7. Suck this McCain.

    It was amazing! I cried like a baby. I'm so glad so many people watched it. McCain is so toast.

    October 30, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  8. ANDY DAAS

    Joe are you a joker.

    October 30, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  9. C A

    It was an excellent 30 minutes.

    October 30, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  10. Bob

    I sent the idea of a prime time special to the Obama campaign back in July. It was called "Barack Salutes America". Your welcome.

    October 30, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  11. ez

    Early voting is the way to go.

    Registered Republican "voted" all Democrats.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 30, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  12. My Bad

    What was the title of the infomercial "The Biggest Loser," oh, I'm sorry, that's a show about weight loss on another network, my bad!

    October 30, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  13. Heidi From OKC

    I am not sure how good those ratings are. I was in a room with about 45 people watching it last night

    October 30, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  14. President Barack Obama

    VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE

    OBAMA OBAMA OBAMA Obama Obama

    VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE VOTE

    OBAMA OBAMA OBAMA Obama Obama

    AS IF YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT.... BECAUSE IT DOES

    Barack Your Vote08!!!

    October 30, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  15. xcusme

    Obama is a success. He has said more in those 30 minutes than McCain has said in 22 months.

    October 30, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  16. carolo

    Good tape and "maybe" people can actually see him as just another American and not this big, black, scary man that McCain continues to want us to think he is.

    October 30, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  17. ANDY DAAS

    Mr.President Obama.

    October 30, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  18. Frank G

    We need overwhelming Democratic ticket victories at all levels to send a unified message to all America (and the Republicans in particular) that bombastic messages of hate, distortions and lies will no longer be accepted in political campaigns.
    Maybe, then in future, we can have all contestants from all parties focusing upon substantive issues that affect our lives.
    IF WE VOTE LOUD ENOUGH MAYBE WE WILL BE HEARD.THE BEST WAY TO SHUT DOWN THE GOP TACTICS IS TO MAKE SURE YOU AND EVERYONE YOU KNOW VOTES 100% DEMOCRATIC. GET OUT THE VOTE; TAKE NOTHING FOR GRANTED; IRRESPECTIVE OF THE POLLS.

    October 30, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  19. Susan from Scotts Valley, CA

    Joe – Wendy was A speechwriter for Obama. Not THE speechwriter. I think I read she wrote a couple of speeches.

    This infomercial was great. Although it covered no new ground, it gave us insight into what it would be like to be hearing from President Obama. I haven't looked forward to hearing from my president or watching him on television for so long. It's refreshing to actually think I'll want to watch again.

    October 30, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  20. jm for sc

    The ad was awesome!!!!

    While the media keeps focusing on how much the ad cost, I would like to remind all that Obama is doing exacting what he need to do with the money we donated to him.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 30, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  21. mume

    john mccain might as well stop campaigning, I'm so existed for Ma men obama

    October 30, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  22. Jack Jodell, Minneapolis, MN

    Money well spent, and viewers got a great glimpse at positive, intelligent TV and a top-notch candidate's very relevant presentation.

    October 30, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  23. Brian

    Good. I saw it and I think it was rather inspirational! The video also has 800,000 views on youtube so far. A lot of people are complaining that Obama is trying to buy this election with this sort of over the top advertizing. Well I'd rather have an election bought than stolen like Dubya did in 2004!

    October 30, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  24. Nick

    I think it was a brilliant move, and not unheard of either. Ross Perot did it, Nixon did it.
    There was no mention of the opposition, it in no way was negative towards the opposition. This could only help Obama, unlike a negative ad that can backfire and help the one it's attacking.

    And, it's great face time. As hard as it is to believe, there are people that aren't paying attention, don't really know who they're voting for, and seeing him on almost every network channel for 30 minutes is sure to help.

    October 30, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  25. Darrel Lantz

    I'm glad to see that many folks saw this ad. The obama team did a wonderful job of distilling down Barrrack's message into a half hour format. It was well paced, and ending with the live rally was brilliant. Great television, great politics, a very positive final arguement for the Obama camp.

    October 30, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
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