Obama Infomercials Courted Estimated 33 Mil. Viewers

Barack Obama infomercialDemocratic presidential candidate Barack Obama's closely watched roadblock of half-hour political infomercials on seven broadcast and cable networks resulted in a price tag of some 10 cents a viewer--or voter. And the gamble worked.

Obama pulled in Nielsen Media Research 33.5 million viewers among NBC, CBS, Fox, Univision, MSNBC, BET and TVOne airings for his half-hour paid political show, which ran from 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Adding in additional cable network viewers from MSNBC, BET and TVOne could push the overall total from around 32 million to 33 million viewers.

At a total price tag of some $3.3 million for those collective half-hour program purchases, this equates to a cost per viewer--or potential voter--of around 10 cents.

Obama's biggest audience was on NBC, which averaged 9.78 million viewers. CBS drew 8.60 million, Fox had 7.1 million and Univision had 3.47 million. Among the cable networks, MSNBC got 3.5 million viewers; BET had 714,000, and TVOne had 307,000.



For the night overall, Fox dominated because of what turned out to be the deciding game of the World Series, which crowned the Philadelphia Phillies champions over the Tampa Bay Rays in five games.

The fifth game pushed up audience numbers to a 6.2/16 among 18-49 viewers and 19.8 million viewers--numbers that were generally higher than game one through three. For the night overall, Fox earned a 4.9 rating/13 share among 18-49 viewers.

Although ABC decided not to buy the Obama infomercial, its "Pushing Daisies"--which ran against it from 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.--wasn't all that hurt. The show actually improved in overall viewers to 6.7 million, from 5.7 million the week before. Among 18-49 viewers, it also gained a 2.3/6 from a 1.9/5 the week before.

Because of the disruption on the schedule with special events, a number of top Wednesday shows were lower versus a week before. CBS' "Criminal Minds" was down to a 3.5/8 from a 4.1/10 the week before, as was CBS' "CSI: NY," which also sank to a 3.3/9 from a 3.9/10. ABC's "Private Practice" moved to a lower 2.9/7 from a 3.0/8 the previous week.

Some shows on the fence did find growth: ABC's "Dirty Sexy Money" rose to a 2.0/5 from a 1.9/4. NBC's "Lipstick Jungle" perked up to a 1.9/5 from a 1.7/4. Things may not last for "Jungle," which will move to a more difficult Friday prime-time period.

After Fox, CBS came in second on Wednesday to a 3.0/8. ABC was third at a 2.4/6; then NBC with a 2.3/6; Univision at a 1.7/4; and the CW at a 1.4/4.

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