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. AM in VA

    Very uplifting and forward looking. It was interesting to see the personal stories that have helped to shape the direction of the campaign. It was all narrated by Barack Obama; how nice to hear an intelligent, articulate gentleman making his points in a calm and objective manner.

    No negativity, no bluster.

    I am proud that my family and I have already voted for Barack Obama. Even if he doesn't win the election he will be a force in American politics for years to come.

    October 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  2. I Love It

    I wanted to know more about the families. They were powerful stories. I really felt sorry for the woman who's son is going to Iraq.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  3. John the realist

    America, WAKE UP!!! Never before has there been so much money thrown at a candidate...doesn't that concern you?? Everyone is so quick to make superficial attacks on Sarah Palin, but what about the substantive things of Mr. Obama that should scare the living pants off of us all...or at least not be withheld by the mainstream media.

    Since when did we turn into a nanny-state???

    "Government is not the solution to our problems...GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM"...Ronald Reagan said that.

    We need a smaller government, not one that manages everything for us!

    I love this country and support our government, but the Constitution has placed limits on the government for a reason....please re-read the Constitution before Nov 4th!!!

    These ads are another testament of the forces at work to get this guy elected... unlimited resources ... doesn't that concern anyone else???

    October 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  4. Tell the TRUTH just once McWar /Phailling

    The reason they are on Joe the Plummer that is their mental state .
    McWar/Phailling are habitual liers /full of hate .

    Songbird just fell out of the fruit cake another cracked nut .

    October 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  5. KD

    The ad was fantastic, who cares that it cost so much, the GOP is jealous, you can bet that if they had the money they would have done it. As a contributor to the Obama campaign, I happy to say I approve of the expenditure of my donation.

    October 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  6. JAY N.H.

    I have to say that I cannot wait till this election is over. I definately am suffering from political overstimulation. I think this election has taken it's toll on the American I have never seen or heard the type of hatred that has been spewed out in the McCain campaign. The names and labels that they have thrown at Obama have been unbelievable. What does this tell the world about us? We as a nation will never move forward if we are divided. No matter who wins the country loses.

    October 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  7. Rich from Philly

    Wow–and to think that he is doing without Joe the Plumber–thought he would have needed Joe to show up to get the ratings. Oops, that is McCain who has nothing to say and can't seem to function without Joe.–sorry

    October 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  8. HEIDI

    I HAVE SEEN BITS OF THE INFOMERICIAL. HE WILL MAKE A GREAT PRESIDENT. I AM A 44 YRS BLACK FEMALE, NEVER IN MY LIFE DID I THINK THAT THIS COULD HAPPEN. BARACK OBAMA MY FAMILY AND I ARE EXTREMELY PROUD OF YOU AS IS ALL OF AMERICA.

    October 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  9. JJ

    His ratings may have been higher than what is being reported here. He was on BET, MSNBC and Univision. Where are their ratings?

    October 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  10. Alesia

    I am looking forward to Barak Obama being our Commander-in-Chief!

    October 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  11. Michael watching from Canada

    Don't forget that the rest of the world was watching as well.

    Obama for President.

    Please get out and vote for Obama. Don't take anything for granted.

    October 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. Ryan, Denver

    Barack laid out his plans for America with an up beat but down to Earth formula. It was a positive messege for 30 minutes without once mentioning McCain.
    Let's see if McCain can go 30 seconds without mentioning Obama.

    October 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. BARACKING THE VOTE IN NEW ORLEANS

    I watched the ad with my family which includes my mother 56, cousin 16, my son 1, and my self 26. I have to say we were moved. And after all was said and done my 16-yr old cousin said something so simple but so profound. She said "That was the best 30 mins of my life. I love Obama!"...Little cousin...I have to agree.

    Obama may not be what America wants, but he is what we need.

    God Bless you and your family. And all of who support and PRAY for you are looking forward to a brighter day...

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

    I guess the statistics also mean that despite all the notices about the speech/infomercial that 80% chose not to watch.

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

    Obama/Biden will make you proud to be American again!

    October 30, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  16. Wendy B

    Outstanding,,, oh and Joe don't spread lies

    October 30, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  17. Mary Ann

    Senator Obama's show last night made me feel very comfortable and secure. I am more sure than ever that Obama will be a good president. I am very proud to be voting for Mr. Obama. He will lead our country in a better direction.

    October 30, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. Kelley At Here

    This is the best we can get and it will only get better with Mr.Obama at the wheel.This guy is our hope.

    October 30, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  19. Lots of Hugs

    His mom would be so proud. We'll hug him for her.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 30, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. Josephine Grison

    I loved seeing Barack Obama on the major networks last night and he made me cry. This is the 1st time in my adult life that I was moved by a Presidential Candidate and I know Barack Obama will take the USA and make us the country we once were. We will be the envy of the world with this man, we will once again lead the world and be respected. These last 8 years we have gone from being respected to the biggest joke of the decade. Our economy is horrible, the cost of life is out of control and many of us are suffering. We cannot afford to have Obama loose we cannot I say this from the bottom of my heart.
    Look at what happened when the crisis at Wall St. happend John McCain was scared he did not know what to do. Is this how we want things handled in our Country. He claimed that very morning that the fundamentals of our country were strong to only say a few hours later that we were in a crisis. John McCain has jumped from one point to the next and the little he spoke about our economy he has changed his minds several times w/in hours. All McCain does is attack Obama this is all he has been doing. Nothing concrete from comes out of his mouth just attacks on Obama.
    Please please please please for any of you that do not know who you want to vote for think about what is being talked about by the Presidential Candidates look at who has been consistent, look at who is calm and collected and look at whom has not changed his mind every few hours and say something that makes him popular but not what he may believe in. This is why I am voting for Barack Obama and not McCain.

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

    As Pops would say "what can I say" or "you don't say". Obama is the man and I hope that we don't miss out on this by letting McSame get into office. Please people VOTE Obama.
    Obama can synchronize the split-second shift from national programming to a live rally in Florida and hit the mark within a second. McCain can't get a loser unlicensed tax-dodger to a rally. There you have it, America.

    October 30, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  22. Bob Indianapolis IN

    CHECKMATE, BABY!

    It was an eloquent summary of his plan to rebuild the American economy and a beautiful contrast to the Geezer and Gidget show with their fake plumber and their low-information haters...

    October 30, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. Cathy Forster - Naples,Florida

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

    Perhaps your rates are bias, as usually.

    October 30, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. Alisha In Fl

    Joe try to get your fact correct before you post please.. Wendy Button was John Edwards speechwriter not Obama.. Joe you are just another uneducated Republican.. Please learn to read..

    October 30, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. slick

    Hooray for that man. POTUS

    October 30, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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