October 30th, 2008
03:10 PM ET
13 years ago

Obama ad a ratings success

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/10/30/art.obamaad.cnn.jpg caption="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. Shame Shame I Know your name GOP

    You are kidding right Bert? The money spent on Palin's clothes could buy a home in forclosure. Stop pointing fingers, it makes you look petty.

    October 30, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  2. DB

    It's also available on the internet, so it still can easilt be viewed by more voters.

    October 30, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  3. Sid

    I missed this 30 min video. How and where can I watch this again?
    Any pointers?


    October 30, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  4. Just a Candid Observer

    Just a small observation to all of you Obama supporters that are complaining that McCain is calling names....maybe you should stop the name calling youself.

    Just an observation.

    As for Obama spending $7 Million on ads that could have been donated to a worthwile cause, I have to say put your money where your mouth is. Maybe he should take some of the hundreds of millions of dollars given to him from all over the world and use that money to help the less fortunate. Don't hold your breath. He'll make everyone else pay for that.

    October 30, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  5. JDC

    What a country of whiners and losers! Spoiled rotten Americans, worried to death about ther 401Ks. Ready to elect a fricking socialist. Shows how uneducated, lacking knowledge of American history.
    Our ancestors lost their homes, fortunes, lives, and today's wimpy culture thinks Obama is the answer!

    October 30, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  6. shan

    i've got to give it to Barack. he's a smart man. he has good new ideas and apparently surrounds himself with other intelligent individuals. that's what i want in the white house. intelligent, stategic people that think things through.

    Obama/Biden '08

    October 30, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  7. Diane Panama City Fl

    So, last night Obama pulled off the coup d'etete of political advertising, while today Joe the Plumber was a "No Show" at the McCain campaign event because of "miscommuniation". That should give us a good side-by-side comparison of how each candidate would handle their respective administrations.

    More imortantly, I'm glad I helped to pay for Obama's ad. I'm very proud of my investment. It was money well spent. Thank you, Senator Obama.

    October 30, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  8. TrueIndependent

    Whichever camp you choose, however much you complain about the money Obama raised (as raised by Bush 4 years ago, and which you wished McCain had raised), you cannot argue with the fact that the Obama campaign has created a lot of jobs for people. The T-Shirts, and all were and continue to be made in America, now that is patriotism.

    October 30, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  9. BED

    Barack is a joke and a disgrace to America..

    October 30, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. LaTeef GeorgiaforObama

    I watched the ad, Obama look presidential. Money well spent.

    October 30, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. Fernando

    I am proud to support Barack Obama. I contributed to his campaign because I want him to be the next President. I believe that my hard working money was well spent. I and working hard for a return on my investment....VOTE AND GET OTHERS TO VOTE.

    Obama/Biden 2008

    October 30, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  12. DemforMcCain

    Didn't convince me to vote for him....

    October 30, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  13. White Male Veteran from Minnesota

    Het Bert and those like Bert....take a long walk off a short pier.

    October 30, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  14. GP

    At least in terms of rhetoric, there is a stark contrast between the candidates.

    Obama asks us to follow him to a better future while McCain asks us to not follow the Obama.

    Obama tells us government is not the solution, McCain tells us it is.

    Obama is an aspiration, McCain is a realization.

    October 30, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  15. Obama/Biden 08

    _____________Yes we can 08_____________

    Election party at my house.

    October 30, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  16. Robert The Man

    Of course he had high ratings, everyone wants to see what a failure really looks like. Come the 4th everyone will know.

    October 30, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  17. john for OBAMA

    Hey Kathy we arent talkin bout the early bird special crowd

    October 30, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  18. Hana abebe

    John McCain how long are you cant with this nonsenses campaigning . are you shore you are not showcasing.
    you need to stop with the negative talks and go to the man issue . that is what the American pepole like to know not the nonsenses. p.s
    oh one more this you make the biggest mistake bye peaking that women paln.

    October 30, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  19. John S

    I saw the ads last night also. As a Canadian I thought the ad was so inspiring and let viewers know the exact message he wanted them to know. Obama is an intelligent and caring individual who will do great things for your country. I am enviest of Americans. We, as Canadians also need a leader with a charcter and vision like he has.

    October 30, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  20. Allan G.

    Sounded more like Billy Mays and his stuff he sells on TV. Sounds kind of good when you watch it, but ultimately it's worthless when you get it. We can't afford the lifetime of easy payments, let alone the horrendous shipping cost we'll find out about later.

    October 30, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  21. Cleveland voter

    McCain is the liar. Obama said he would discuss it with McCain. OK, he didn't discuss it with him. Big pooh to him. However, McComplain had time to change his mind, like he's done on immigration, Bush's tax breaks, abortion, and let's not forget his promise to not have a negative campaign.

    So we can stack lies and see who's pile is bigger.

    October 30, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |

    I donated to Obama/Biden campaign and the money was well spent. So to all the folks who are complaining about how he spent the money, I am sure that you were not one who donated so what is your problem.Close your lip. Shut it up already.

    October 30, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  23. karen-phoenix

    God Bless Obama/Biden!!!
    AZ republican voting for Obama/Biden
    I am sooooo ashamed of the republican party after 40 years voting for them and I am completely disgusted with what they have done as far as lies, lies and more lies. The republicans are now appealing to some very, very low life and I just can't believe this has happened to the Eisenhower/Goldwater republican party! McCain is soooo bad!!!

    October 30, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  24. Chris the Unemployed from CT

    It was not nearly as boring as I thought it was going to be. I had visions of Ross Perot and flip-charts, but it was interesting and touching. Particularly on the day I lost my job due to "budget cuts".

    October 30, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  25. the TRUTH will set you FREE

    A MAJOR waste of TV time. HE is a LIAR and a MORON, and so are YOU if you vote for him. The economy is like it is today because of the DEMOCRATIC party, so pull off the blinders that you people in the (ME) party have and try to EDUCATE yourselves FOR A CHANGE....

    October 30, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
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