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. indy voter

    DOES ANYONE KNOW WHY JOHN MCAIN CANNOT GO ANYWHERE WITHOUT HIS WIFE NEXT TO HIM.....

    I HAVE NEVER SEEN THIS ON A CAMPAIGN TRAIL BEFORE AND IT WORRIES ME....

    ESPECIALLY SINCE A COUPLE TIMES WHEN ALONE ON STAGE HE HAS BEEN CONFUSED ABOUT HOW TO GET OFF THE STAGE....

    WHY HIS WIFE WITH HIM AT ALL TIMES??? ANYONE HAVE INFO...?

    THANKS

    October 30, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  2. Stephanie

    Go Obama! I loved it!

    October 30, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  3. linda n carolina

    The ad said it all. Why I voted fro him, why I stood in line for 3 hours with 2 grandkids at a Charlotte rally to see him and why I know he will be a great President!

    October 30, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  4. SD,Michigan

    I missed it when it aired on Tv, but saw it on youtube in 3 parts. Very well-done and compelling.I was saddened to see this morning some guys on Faux News mocking the stories of those people in the ad. They are real people with real problems, just like all of us!

    October 30, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  5. Cathy Forster - Naples,Florida

    Explain to me please, why despite all this money spent in TV and commercial running every 20 minutes in all stations, Sen. Obama is ONLY few points ahead of Sen. McCain?

    He should have double digits. Maybe the people are getting tired to see his face on TV. I know I am.

    October 30, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  6. Terry, Dallas Texas

    Susan,

    And the half a trillion dollars Bush has spent fighting his made up war could have helped how many Americans?

    October 30, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  7. Bert

    All that money this man has spent on this campaign. Think of all the the people this money could feed. Could help keep people in their homes. Kind of gives you an idea how he will spend our tax dollars, doesn't it? Wreckless, irresponsible... Heaven help us all.

    October 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  8. ali

    I am not an American but really watching every bit of it. The whole world is intrested who are you gonna vote you guys. It seems your choice this time is very clear. I can't say whom I prefare to be your president. All the best.

    Ali from UK

    October 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  9. JG

    Briallant stratrgic move. Now we need to make sure we VOTE on NOV 4th. for "THAT ONE"

    Make sure your coworkers, friends family and neighbors vote! and all of you YOUNG FIRST time voters, don;t get complacent, GO VOTE and proove the republicans wrong.

    October 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  10. Yes, He Can

    I can't wait to vote for Barack either. It feels like Christmas in November. I love the fact that he's intelligent and honest, but most of all I love the fact that he wants what's right for all Americans–that includes people who don't like him very much.

    He's an all American leader who will do what he says he's going to do.

    Barack/Biden 08

    October 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  11. Unbelievable!

    It was a very moving and enlightening 30 minutes. If people watched it with an open mind, then they came away a lot more willing to either vote for Obama or, at the very least, feel comfortable with him winning the election.

    October 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. Aaron

    Good Job, Barack.

    You have my vote!

    Obama/Biden 2008

    October 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  13. Nic

    Joe at 3:15–FORMER speechwriter. For Obama, Edwards, and others. Not one bit surprised that you'd leave out info that doesn't suit your point, though.

    October 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  14. lopez in Gregory, TX

    Anyone still undecided? If you believe in hope, you will vote Obama. If you don't, you won't.

    October 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  15. West Virginia for Obama

    Beautiful message! Brilliant. Thank you, Mr. President, for using my campaign donations in such a positive, powerful manner. Obama will run this country just as he ran his campaign. McCain can limp back to the senate and Palin can disappear back into the great White. I never want to hear from her again.

    Vote early, take friends and family with you. YES WE CAN!

    Obama/Biden 2008
    For our children's future.

    October 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  16. JACKED-UP-POLITICS, FLORIDA

    For folks who are still saying that they can't wait to cast their votes, please get to the polls for early voting. It should be happening in your area. Why wait until November 4th.

    A vote is only a vote when it counts; don't risk getting caught in long lines and machine break downs because you waited to go on the last day!!!!

    October 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  17. nobama

    Can someone tell me where he listed any accomplishment in this 30 minute sleep fest?
    He didn't mention any accomplishement becuase there are not any to list.
    Vote for a team with accomplishments on their resumes, McCain/Palin 2008.
    Obama needs to go back to the Senate and actually propose legislation. gain some experience, moderate his policiy ideas and try again.

    October 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  18. Baby Love

    Hey Susan –
    The reason Barack Obama had that much money to pay for the infomercial is that people like me donated time and time again to his campaign. It ws paid for by hard working people!

    We believe in him and WE WANT OUR COUNTRY BACK!!

    If you have a problem with that then STFU.

    Go Obama/Biden

    October 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  19. Bill

    How many of you bought pre-paid credit cards and donated?

    October 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  20. California Voter

    I watched, but saw nothing new . . . except that I noted that the tax level for Americans who will receive cuts under his plan seems to have changed from the $250,000 to $200,000. Perhaps I'm a minority on the CNN blog, but I find after all the hoop la raised by the media about the $150,000 the RNC spent to make Palin media ready, seems pale by comparision to the $600 million Obama has spent on selling his presidency to the American people.

    October 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  21. independent 2008

    "enough", It's like they take pride in being ignorant.
    Barack Obama.
    I'ts gonna be a landslide.

    October 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  22. OBAMA IN 2008!

    The ad was awesome and inspiring and I wanted more than 30 minutes!

    October 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  23. Irma

    I don't have a TV but I saw it in the internet, made me feel so proud to have voted for him.

    GOD BLESS BARACK OBAMA!!!!

    October 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  24. Betty

    I can't wait to wear my new BLUE dress to work on Tuesday! I'd have worn it earlier but we don't have early voting in NY.

    October 30, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. Jennifer NC

    I loved it. Stop hating out there. He was only doing what he was suppose to me doing with the money that was donated. Unlike the RNC who gave Sara Palin a 150,000 makeover. I bet they wished they had used that money for more commercials. Just goes to show how not so smart they are not. OBAMA/BIDEN 08

    October 30, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
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