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. DD

    I thought it was very well done. It never once bashed Mr. McCain or said anything negative about Mr. McCain or Ms. Palin's campaign . It was informative, showed intelligence, and had a positive message. Good job Mr. Obama.

    October 30, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  2. Vegas Barbie for Obama

    It was a ratings success just as Obama will have success come Nov. 4!!! YES WE CAN!!!

    October 30, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  3. Greg in MN

    I almost forgot to add...of course the ad was well done, it was directed by Davis Guggenheim, the same man who directed "An Inconvenient Truth"

    October 30, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  4. Larry of Boston

    In a time of economic disaster and with som many families on the brink of financial collapse, the millions spent by Obama is absolutley disgraceful and show his eletist side.

    If Obama had not lied and accepted public financing, he would not be doing this - I do not trust this man one iota....

    October 30, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  5. Susan

    I'm SO proud of our young voters! Positive seems to be working for them. Why hasn't it worked in the past? Fact Check is a life saver!

    Grandmas for Obama!!!

    October 30, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  6. lovable liberal

    There's only one person in the US who has the credibility to lead us. Even if McCain were somehow able to win the election from the impossible hole he's in now, he couldn't govern effectively.

    Obama is our best hope and maybe our last hope.

    October 30, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  7. George from Minneapolis

    BRILLIANT

    October 30, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  8. SONGBIRD MCCAIN

    Obama endorsed by:
    dozens of famous conservative republicans, several key economic magazines including the Economist, hundreds of newspapers, key business leaders like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, key military personnel like Colin Powell and a 4-star Air Force General, not to mention the more than 100 Nobel Laureat scientists (all conveniently located on wikipedia BTW)

    McCain endorsed by:
    Bush, Cheney and "Joe" the "Plumber"

    Are you still undecided?

    October 30, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  9. Rob

    Guess "Must Lie TV" was a success. Well, you know what they say, people like to watch fantasies on TV. Got a good one too. The failed community organizer who tried to convince America that he could do something good for the country. Here's the title "Foolin' the Country with Barry O"

    Hopefully, like other TV shows that are no good, this one will get pulled November 5th.

    October 30, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  10. Laverne

    To Susan: You talk about Obama could have done a lot to help people in US with that 7 million dollars. That is money he raised for the campaign and has to be spent on the campaign and furthermore, since you said that, would not you agree all those 10 billions of dollars spent on a war that we will never be able to use the word "victory" could have been used right here in America. That is what Obama has been saying for the past 20 months. Try listening!

    October 30, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  11. nancy

    GO OBAMA-PRESIDENT-ELECT OBAMA SOON!!!

    October 30, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  12. bruce

    My wife was so moved by this that she was crying, and that is something that does not happen often.
    She said it was very moving.
    I must admidt that it has been a very long time since I found anything political to leave me with a positive feeling.
    No mention of McCain/Palin, no negatives, no smears..as Sgt. joe Friday used to say on Dragnet..."just the facts"

    October 30, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  13. Malcolm

    Great use of campaign funds. He laid out his plans. Substance is important.

    October 30, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  14. Artie

    About time we had a smart president.

    The Republicans need to figure out how they are going to function in the future. If it becomes the party of the uneducated and the super Christian, I may never vote Republican again.

    - Upset Republican for Obama

    October 30, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  15. SONGBIRD MCCAIN

    Hey Kitty,

    100% chose not to watch McCain's speech

    October 30, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  16. George

    nobody should be up in arms about how much this cost...it was paid for entirely by obama campaign donations... in other words, people gave this money for the sole purpose of getting obama elected. it would be criminal if he did anything other than spend the money on stuff like this

    October 30, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  17. Jim L.

    I watched your interview between Rick Sanchez and a gentleman who appeared to be a Nazi proselytizer attacking Obama's "relationship" to Jewish Americans. I'm not Jewish, Nazi, Palestinian, Black or particularly liberal, but I think this interview was an atrocity. Freedom of speech DOES NOT include freedom to slander and libel, nor to allow publication of slander and/or libel in public media. Shame on you, CNN. You've tarnished yourselves by allowing this inane, baseless diatribe by an obviously self-serving zealot. Give me a break! Use a modicum of judgment.

    October 30, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  18. Lauraleigh Devey

    Obama is our man. Tax increase is mandatory in order to pay down the astronomical money owed. It is no different than with our own bills. There is an income source, which needs to increase based on the liabilities.

    Wake up America, and vote smart, not loyal.

    October 30, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  19. sandy

    I thought it was absolutely wonderful.....brought tears to my eyes. There are so many Americans that hold out hope that Barack Obama will win this election and restore the American peoples faith in our leaders. It was also great fun to watch the reaction by the republicans! They never cease to amaze me. God bless Barack Obama and God Bless America!

    October 30, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  20. Old Johnny

    No heh heh, it was an infomercial my freinds, heh Joe the plumber called him a socialist heh heh. I know how to win wars. I will never delay a baseball game with an infomercial my freinds heh heh. Sure Sarah and I disagree on everything. cause were Mavericks , it's fun heh heh, What about acorn huh, I wont re distribute wealth my freinds heh heh. I will buy back all the mortgages and freeze spending thats what I will do. Obama pals around with ayers. Hey. Has anyone sen my little dog? Mr. Puddles? Mr. Puddles?

    October 30, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  21. I Love This Man And My Country

    I love this man, yes I said it. Not because of his campaign, but because of his heart, his intelligence, and his willingness to give back to this great country.

    My love for this country is doubled by the possibility of having a good man in the White House.

    Obama/Biden 08

    October 30, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  22. George

    Ask a McCain supporter why he or she is voting for him and see how many can answer without using the name Obama in the first 5-10 words. Repeat the question to an Obama supporter and see how many times you hear the name McCain. One is FOR someone–the other is AGAINST the opponent . Time will tell who wins

    October 30, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  23. Linda parsel

    I found the Obama 30 minute "commercial" to be very good. I was especially glad to hear no sly slandering of his opponent . McCain and Palin have been ugly negative so much. I think viewers are sick of the smear and innuendo

    October 30, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  24. er78

    A near perfect campaign. A brilliant move. Just reflect the level of organization this candidate and his people are bringing to Washington DC. For the greater good of America and the whole world.

    October 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  25. Adam BIDDUT Habib Dallas, TX

    His campaign showed tremendous discipline. They know how to win. If these folks run the country, I do see we have hope. Is some of these folks runs GM, FORD, CHRYSLER, I see bright future for our companies.

    October 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
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