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. JL

    RFEERO

    The "koolaid" is for washing down the B.S. from the last 8 years...you might need some yourself.

    October 30, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. VOTE EARLY/VOTE OBAMA

    It was so sincere, honest and heart warming to hear Obama speak and not one negative word was spoken unlike McCain and Palin who do nothing but talk negative thru out their rallies. This is the type of person I want talking to other world leaders and handling the problems all Americans now are faceing. Not some windbag and his dimwit sidekick. McCain can't even stop flip flopping. First he says he won't drill in Alaska, last night on Larry King he says Palin wants to drill up there so he guessed he's have to fly up there and check it out because that's where Palin wants to drill. Who will be running this country is God forbid he would win? Him or Palin?

    October 30, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  3. Matt

    @ Brady

    You can't complain about the election being "for sale" just because Obama collected more money and your guy is losing. This is the first time in almost a century that a Democratic candidate has had more funding than the Republican candidate. And hey, wouldn't you rather the election be bought with money that spreads the truth and unites us as opposed to money that spreads rancor and lies and divides us like McCain?

    October 30, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. NYHillary

    Not sure the Wendy Button story is true. There on website that's against Obama. Could be another trap from the sicko group (McCain/Palin). That's why we haven't heard it on CNN. Great video Obama, please make more. Oh by the way, my money pay for it too.

    Go Obama

    October 30, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  5. Ronda

    My favorite aspect–he didn't mention McCain once. It wasn't negative. I want to go out and help! Obama is inspiring the best in us.

    October 30, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  6. RS

    One more things Ads are necessary....a $150k clothing and Louis Vuitton purse are not ask Sarah to return that purse and give the money to someone that needs a mortgage payment or medication and the clothes to a charitble organization.

    October 30, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  7. Phil Newton from Murphy, Oregon

    DON'T BE FOOLED:

    You know what I don't trust?

    A GOP team made up of Karl Rove lobbyists.

    October 30, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  8. Ron, NYC

    Joe, sarah palin is voting for Obama

    October 30, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  9. Larry, Hazleton, Pa

    The program was well done and thought provoking – should allow any of the indenpendent voters the opportunity to make a informed decision about the choice of who should be our next president – The choice is very clear for me and I highly recommend to all who willing to listen that Mr Obama is superior in all details to Mr McCain – I will be voting for the OBAMA/BIDEN ticket on Nov 4.

    October 30, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  10. rob

    to so ?–a vote for Mc Cain is like dancing with the stars–no substance–bad clothing-no carisma–and lots of pan cake make-up–except Mc Cain does have those nasty yellow teeth

    October 30, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    An unbelievable interruption into our lives!!! More of the same is what you can expect if Senator Obama is elected president.

    I hope this never happens again.

    Arrogance and greed. Look at me, listen to me.

    Did you hear anything good about the USA? or let me guess we are waiting for hope and change.

    Never lost hope, and I like to decide the changes I make in my life. Less government is better.

    October 30, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  12. beevee

    This clearly shows how brilliant Obama is in his campaign strategy and how smart his strategists are. Hope he wins the election and brings in his brain power to adminster this nation to glory days both in its economic superiority and and international stature.

    October 30, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  13. bazznewzz

    how any self respecting jew...ahem american...can vote for "That One" is beyond me...
    But then I see the fact check site on cnn which uses the recent words of khalidi and obama to refute the actions and words from before the campaign cycle...
    obama cannot hide from his strange bedfellows...
    the msm is not doing its job by misleading the public...
    the LA Times has lost any journalistic integrity by not releasing the video...
    do we know of any friend of obama that he is not trying to distance himself from?
    http://scattershooting.wordpress.com

    October 30, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. eve

    so much talk about Obama overspending but no one takes into consideraton that FOX and the right wing radio is 24/7 , the money was needed to correct the fallacies that people continue to believe because the McCain campaign continues to spew lies

    October 30, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  15. frank

    Maybe if the RNC would have put their money towards an ad like this instead of outfitting Palin and her family they wouldn't be so behind.
    Priorities people.

    October 30, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  16. Texas Straight Talker

    Alan G you shop at QVC way too much! It feels great to support the candidate who promotes unity!

    October 30, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  17. Doug

    Think about that folks, 22% combined. Talk about positive spin. Heck, it was on every dang network channel except abc, and combined it barely beat CSI last week.

    CNN and Foxnews didn't run it, thank god there were options.

    And if you didn't catch it, he said in his Obamatisement that If you are a FAMILY making less than $200,000, that's $200,000, you won't see your taxes go up. He denied it was $200,000 this week and said it was $250,000, yet comes on and says it's $200,000 again. Be wary folks.

    October 30, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  18. Penny

    I have donated my money to the Obama/Biden campaign and I have no complaints as to how the money was spent, so that didn't as someone earlier said – Shut up.

    Also, all of those McCain/Palin people who keep saying the same thing over and over again. If you feel your candidate is so strong and has so many answers – you tell me what he is going to do, you try to convince me why he is the better candidate instead of always tearing down mine.

    I don’t want to hear what that ….Sean Insanity or that Rush “dope addict” Limpball has to say but what you truly believe. You all keep talking about rhetoric, what are you listening to when you listen to those….creeps.

    The world needs a change and a man who lives for the furture.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    October 30, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  19. WoW'd By OBAMA

    I was so enthralled by Obama's closing speech! I am tired of people saying that he is a great speaker but he doesn't tell you how he'll accomplish all of this. He told us his plan and what he wants to do as much, well actually a million times more than McCain ever has. All McCain does is cry about bits and pieces of out of context pieces of information he scrapes up! I can't wait for this to be over!

    VOTE EARLY TO AVOID THE LONG LINES OF PEOPLE CASTING THEIR VOTE FOR THE RIGHT MAN!! OBAMA '08

    October 30, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  20. Scars

    I wish I could have seen it. I have read a book on him and he is truly an incredible man. I can't wait to watch him mend our scars.

    October 30, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  21. Linda D. Carrollton, TX

    I have already voted for Barack. I think he did an excellent job making his points and he laid out his plans for the country. I think he is definitely a great choice for President. His AD last night was the main reason why. I think he did an excellent job.

    October 30, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  22. Sevin

    I keep waiting for John McCain to tell me what he will do different than George Bush. However, all he does is knock the competition. I was taught early on that this is a bad course of action to achieve success.

    October 30, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  23. j williamson

    People are so yearning for a new direction – this is not a political catch-all pharse, but the sheer truth of the matter. The fact that so many people "tuned in" to a political "commercial" underscores this. P.S. I already voted for Obama (absentee, NY).

    October 30, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  24. Stone Harry

    That's your money Obama decided to waste on a self serving infomercial! Ha Ha!

    October 30, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  25. Texas Trail Dog!

    I wouldn't bring out what a success this AD was unless your counting how fast you can spend money that is not yours. $100,000 a minute FOR 30 minutes. Isn't this kinda ignorant. Why does he want the president so bad for? What are his intentions? IMAGINE WHAT HE WILL DO ONCE HE IS IN THE WHITE HOUSE. YOU THINK BUSH'S ECONOMY IS BAD? YOU AIN'T SEEN NOTHING YET BUD! WHEN YOU GET A DEMOCRAT PRESIDENT AND A SOLID DEMOCRAT CONGRESS THAT CAN'T BE FILIBUSTED THEN THE UNITED STATES AS WE KNOW ARE DOOMED. WE WILL HAVE TO HAVE A REVOLUTION TO GET THESE DISGUSTING PEOPLE OUT. I'M SPEAKING FROM KNOWLEDGE OF BEING ONE FOR 51-YEARS BUT BOY HAVE I WISED UP. AWAKE UP AMERICA BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.

    October 30, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
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