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. Jackson

    My friends, MacKain might as well start working on his concession speech. All you cons, better get on a Oboma-Biden Express, The MacKain wagon, is riding on 3 wheels – it'll be a long walk home.

    I am just waiting for him to lose it and start yelling, "you hoodlums better get off my lawn" at the next rally.

    October 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  2. CNN Obama Poll --- yeah right gimme a break

    The CMM Obama campaign is working overtime again and falsifying another Obama poll - I would estimate that 70% of Americans do not believe what CNN puts out on Obama -

    October 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  3. The Stallion & The Champ vs. The Old Mule and Winky Half-baked Alaska

    And allegedly John McCain had his "best" interview on Larry King Live.
    All I can say is ... If that was his best, then we have more to fear than I originally thought if he is elected. His short-sightedness and Palin's ignorance and their combined lack of intellectual curiosity and narrow perspective is frightening. At least this time, he didn't forget who he was talking to or where he was. WHEN will either McCain or Palin tell us what they are going to do other than criticize, belittle and lie repeatedly?

    October 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  4. Scripted

    BEST ACTOR AWARD:

    ...and the award goes to Barry Obama...

    October 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  5. W. Gowern

    As a Vietnam veteran and long time Republican I have now cast my absentee ballot for Obama/Biden...

    October 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  6. no fear

    considering what's been thrown at him, I'm ever so glad he has had the resources (aka money) to spend. wish I could have given more.

    October 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  7. Fred the moderate

    Everybody I know watched the show and loved it. Oh by the way, it changed some minds here in FLORIDA

    October 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  8. Sue in MI

    Wendy Button is entitled to vote for whomever she chooses, just as the rest of us are. Until Bush declares a national emergency and suspends elections via his executive order, we are free to say and think and elect the candidate who will serve us best.
    Hopefully, some undecideds saw Barack as an American, a great father, a caring citizen, and a man determined to place peace in the foreground of all discussions, instead of the impossibility that Bush and McCain envision. Guns and bombs are easy-getting to learn both sides and coming to terms is the hard part. You think Palin is even capable of hearing a side not her own, an American she doesn't consider "pro-America?" She is of the "either with me or against me" model that starts wars, and fires dissenters. have you heard her say one nice thing about a Democrat? One? Barack has been nothing but kind to them, and they shot themselves in the foot with the negative ads. Particularly when they have their own litany of nefarious connections, abuse of power, misuse of public funds, and knowing and giving money (a half million) to the same people Barack socialized with. Palin also admits that her state is "the most socialist of the 50 states." For her to stand up there day after day and accuse Barack of anything when she has her own problems is beyond absurd.

    October 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. VETERANS FOR OBAMA

    VETERANS ARE SO PROUD OF BARACK.

    NEW LEADERSHIP FOR THE CHANGE WE NEED!

    October 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  10. Sammy

    I guess he got his money's worth.

    October 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  11. Deer Hunter for Obama

    Very inspiring and well worth 30 minutes of my time.

    October 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  12. Independent in Ohio

    Why does everyone care about how much was spent on thisTV spot ? If you are so worried about helping the economy or people that really need it, make a donation to a homeless shelter or your favorite charity. I donated money to the Obama campaign and I am happy with how they have spent it.

    Voted Obama/Biden

    October 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  13. white and black for Obama

    Well done white and black man. Well done Barrie. Well done Americans.
    God Bless you all and hope everything turn arround to benefit the world. Amen.
    Mccbush will not do anything to change anything. no way no how no Mccbush.

    October 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  14. Nancy

    I thought the infomercial was inspiring – a breath of fresh air, after all the vitriol coming from McCain/Palin. No negativity or name-calling from Obama, just the facts about how he plans to put our country back on the right path. I haven't felt this hopeful about the future of our country for years. Hopefully common sense and intelligence will prevail, and none of the nonsense with "voting problems" will occur as it did in the last two elections. This is one election we can't afford to have the Republicans steal; our country's future depends upon it!

    October 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  15. Hana abebe

    wow well done brother from canada
    even me i was impressed bye you .
    we believe in you well done.
    you are the man.

    October 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  16. Wendy Button says about Obama

    "I can no longer justify what this party has done and can’t dismiss the treatment of women and working people as just part of the new kind of politics. It’s wrong and someone has to say that. And also say that the Democratic Party’s talking points—that Senator John McCain is just four more years of the same and that he’s President Bush—are now just hooker lines that fit a very effective and perhaps wave-winning political argument…doesn’t mean they’re true. After all, McCain is the only one who’s worked in a bipartisan way on big challenges."

    Nicely Said! Nuff Said

    October 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  17. Jennifer NC

    I thought it was AWSOME. Very inspiring. I think people need to stop hating and criticizing bc of how much he spent. That is what the money was for. The money was donated for him to campaign with. Is'nt that what he is using it for. Not spending it on Cloths, hair and makeup like the RNC did for Sara Palin.

    October 30, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  18. SaneTexan

    RE:Cathy Forster – Naples,Florida
    And perhaps you folks in Florida are backwards as usual. I mean you voted (arguably in 2000) for Bush twice. How did that turn out for ya?

    October 30, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  19. Rena

    I'm concerned after seeing a person who did all the things that we are taught through life and that’s to get your educated, strive to be your very best, serve your community, to live a descent life and to pursue your dreams; to later be mocked, demeaned, and shamelessly portrayed as a person of hate and terror just to keep you from obtaining the highest seat in America. Not once have I seen anyone in the media refute this tactics by speaking of this man great accomplishments and the success of both he and his wife. These people have fought through hard times and ask nothing of any one. They both have educated themselves, worked their way to the top, and is trying their best to raise two beautiful little girls like every American to be shot down by our on fellow citizens. What puzzles me the most is that if Mr. Obama was a white man with his accomplishments, who brought this much excitement, enthusiasm, and drive to get out and vote; would this race be different? I can probably bet my life on it that it would be absolutely different. He would probably be in the double digits in your so call polls.

    Mr. Obama has not only ran one of the most historical campaigns that will never be forgotten, but he has ran the most successful campaign I have ever seen. He also ran it with dignity and pride. Now, you may say, that Mr. Obama ran more negative ads than any candidate in history; but I totally disagree. Why? Mr. Obama may have spent more money on ads, but not more negatives ad than his running mate. Mr. Obama specifying how his policy plans differ from those of Mr. McCain is not being negative; but facts on their policies. Yes, there may misleading facts on both candidates’ part; but I have not seen Mr. Obama attack Mr. McCain character not once. Whereas, Mr. McCain has constantly attacked Mr. Obama character and infused fear tactics doing the whole election process and is getting worst by the day as the election draws near.

    Now, Ms. Brown wrote an article stating, "He ran his campaign off of a broken promise". Well, I beg the differ, Mr. Obama said, "that he would consider taking public funding and would discuss it further with Mr. McCain, if he is the nominee". Well, at the end of the day he decided not too except pubic funding and he had that right; and thank God he didn't accept the pubic funding. After, seeing how dirty McCain and the republican party has played in this election process, there is no way Mr. Obama could have fought back with the small amount of money of pubic financing. Just remember even if we are educated and try to live a descent and successful life we as African Americans always have to work twice as hard and prove ourselves over and over to even be considered as a positive figure in America’s society. If Mr. Obama had to endure all of this with his education and experience, what does that tell those who does not even come close to his achievements? That's right in our eyes you are still not good enough! I'm wondering is this the America we want to be known and remembered by other nations.

    October 30, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  20. An American

    I watched some of it – pretty boring actually. Obama paid all that money and no one could even talk with him – ask him questions – nothing. That is a sign of his intent to keep himself away from the public and the media if he gets into office. He is not trustworthy and having this "ad" where he is unapproachable proves it.

    Voting in Obama will be voting in a leader who will be all controling and untouchable. We do not want that for America.

    October 30, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  21. colleen from canada

    i have been trying to blog on rick sanchez to comment on mccain's latest attempt to paint obama negatively regarding the jewish community. this is more than the dirtiest type of politics, i thought mccain had reached bottom, but this is even lower than bottom. i hope all americans will call mccain out on this type of dirty politics, by resoundingly voting OBAMA/BIDEN. mccain has lost his soul.

    October 30, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  22. Real Talk

    That was by far the greatest political ad I have ever seen in the future of the United States. I can't wait to tell my children about the speech Barack gave when he excepted the Democratic nomination.
    We are watching the history of one of the greatest presidents of The United States of America as it is being made.

    One Love, One Choice, One Vote. Obama/Biden 08

    October 30, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  23. PA Voter

    Cathy,

    How would you know how many people did or did not watch this program in Florida?

    Seriously. We're tired of the negativity and lies.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 30, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  24. deb

    The ad was great. Obama consistently takes the high road while the other "team" does nothing but divide and lie. McCain/Palin are beyond pathetic. There is NO COMPARISON, period!!!

    October 30, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  25. From Illinois

    Why does CNN not have anything nice to say about McCain? Look at the ticker headlines.

    I guess David Gergen is in charge of the ticker headlines.

    October 30, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
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