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. Michelle, PA

    A whole thirty minutes and Joe the Rogue Plumber, Sarah the Diva and John the Candidate weren't mentioned once.

    I'm soo sick of hearing the name-calling, nastiness, fearmongering and lies, I'll take as much of that positivity as I can get!!!!

    October 30, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  2. ST

    Joe-She is his FORMER speechwriter, not current. Boy, are you McCain supporters grasping at straws.

    October 30, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  3. Maggie from Virginia

    Strategic Brilliance! That's the Obama Camp!

    October 30, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. Voter in Wisconsin

    Joe, Obama's speechwriter is Obama himself. She helped on one speech. He writes the majority of speeches himself.

    October 30, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  5. Ms. Jenny

    Why I'm voting for Obama:

    When the next president goes into negotiations with other world leaders, I want to be confident that our guy is the smartest person in the room. Obama gives me that confidence, McCain doesn't even come close.

    October 30, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  6. KLEE

    OK – great speech – but polls are dropping. The sideshow circus is gaining ground – and its getting Stephen King scary now. I guess scare tactics work better than I thought!!

    Get out and vote – do it right – sign the bottom line – and pay attention to what you are doing.

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2008

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

    Sen. Obama has changed the way that politics is done and I'm amazed by his brilliance. The ad was wonderful and for the Obama Haters who say this office looks like the Oval Office, nothing could be further from the truth. Another attempt to smear his name and to misrepresent his motives.

    Thank you, Obama, for keeping to the subject and totally ignoring McCain, who has nothing to offer. McCain has no closing arguments because he never had any opening arguments.


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

    Great, I hope the new tv series works out for him, however I am voting for a president not the next series of West Wing.

    McCain/Palin 08

    October 30, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  9. Geeque - Chicago,IL

    Barack Obama, the next President of the United States of America.
    Please poeple go and vote for Obama/Biden '08.
    Get your friends, colleagues, auncles, aunties, cousins, nephews and all relatives to vote for "That One"


    October 30, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  10. Tyshunn Felton

    she wrote for Edwards and Hillary as well. what's your point?

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

    It was well worth the money, exposure and hopefully big results for him and Biden at the polls. It was beautiful, a complete picture of the well-known words to America The Beautiful; right down to the amber waves of grain. There's no point in hating on Obama he's the absolute best and history will bear this record. I love it. Obama/Biden '08.

    October 30, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  12. mama4obama

    Barack Obama-POTUS!!!!!

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

    @ SONGBIRD MCCAIN. You got exactly what you wanted. So now you can take him home with you. We the American people are tired of that. ENOUGH with the negativity. We can stop the world and let you get off now.

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

    Ad was brilliant and on Tuesday, Nov 4th the rest of the world can join us as we celebrate our newly elected President Obama!

    si se puede!!

    October 30, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  15. Barack the Deceiver

    Barack Obama is William Ayers without the bombs.
    But no less dangerous.


    October 30, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |

    I have one other difference between Bush and McCain....people liked Bush, but now they don't ...oh wait, I guess that's another similarity. Palin 0-12

    October 30, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  17. IndependentWoman

    Joe,"Obama's speechwriter, Wendy Button, has confirmed she is voting for McCain!! Take that CNN…thanks for reporting on it."

    Thanks for the info.. I'll just take Colin Powell and call it a day.

    October 30, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  18. Chi4Obama

    I think last nights commercial represented, the final nail in the coffin for John McShame, and his filthy campaign.

    Even Republicans are beginning to jump ship.

    October 30, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  19. Ken

    My wife and I both watched last evening. It reaffirmed our committment to supporting the Obama/Biden ticket. It was very refreshing to see an intelligent, articulate, and positive message, telling us all that better times are before us.

    Contrast that with the negativity presented constantly by the other side, and it is clear what choice all americans should make.

    America should choose a positive message with real ideas and solutions to scare tactics that have become all too familiar a staple of one of the major parties tactics. I used to vote a straight republican ticket when I was younger, but now find myself voting for the person, and not the party. This year that is a "no brainer" decision. President Obama is what we've been waiting for, and I can't wait to support him next Tuesday (our state doesn't have early voting). The time for change is now, and the best for America is at our doorstep. We just all need to unite together and seize this opportunity.

    October 30, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  20. Rob

    it is all about money. MONEY MONEY MONEY. soooo sad and Obama is playing that very well!!!

    October 30, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  21. CTSadler

    Hey Joe, it doesn't matter... Just like Joe the Plumber, he doesn't matter either. Obama is going to not only win the election, but he's going to win a mandate from the people.

    October 30, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  22. Make Me A Super Model?

    Wow, my friends and I were talking, even people at the office commented on how much make-up Obama had on; bad skin or were they simply trying to lighten the skin tones.

    October 30, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |

    So Touching...He's intelligent and inspiring...

    Obama 08

    October 30, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  24. Bushwhacked in Eugene, OR

    I am one of those millions of donors to Obama - albeit a small one. I gave him a little over $100 beginning with the primaries through October.
    Like other supporters, I donated money to this very well-organized and well-run campaign to use as they saw best to get Obama elected.

    I am very pleased with the way he has spent my measly $100 - and if I'd had more to give him, I'd be happy with him spending all of it the same way.

    And to all you naysayers out there, I am a 66 year old white woman who has voted in every election since I was eligible at age 21. I am neither uninformed, ignorant, nor on any kind of social welfare program. I have worked and supported myself my entire life, so none of your precious money has supported me. I also pay taxes.

    And for all of you people who complain about paying taxes, where do you think all the services you demand come from? Where do the roads and bridges and other infrastructure come from? Where does your local, county, state and federal law enforcement come from? Where do your schools come from? Yes, there is government waste and it needs to stop - but you can't seriously expect to get the services you want and demand without paying taxes.

    October 30, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  25. It's a WIN for Obama in '08

    I couldn't wait to see what the Obama Campaign was going to put together for this info commercial – no one knew what to expect. After viewing the 1/2 hour video it is obvious Obama is going to win this election.

    This man really knows how to make the country feel like he is listening and that he will continue to listen to those that elected him our President.

    He will bring this country together like no other has ever done and it simply makes me proud to be an American!

    This video is America and Obama pinpointed what matters most to Americans!

    October 30, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
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