Obama's prime time address -- 33.5 million people like commercials

Some people liked it, some people didn't.  But the Barack Obama infomercial - in terms of sheer viewers - was more successful than regular programming at that same time.

This could be because people really enjoy political commercials -- the longer, the better.  Or because television programming has become really bad. Or maybe it's a combo meal.  Whatever it is, it worked for Obama.

Nielsen announced today that 33.5 million people watched the :30 minute Obama-drama last night.  The infomercial was aired on seven networks including: CBS, NBC, Fox, Univision, MSNBC, BET and TV One.

It did better for some networks than others.


It was a good move for NBC.  It brought in 10 million viewers -- much better than the 8 million people who watched the show they should have kept buried Knight Rider last week at the same time.


CBS saw an increase in viewers as well but not as dramastic.  It went from 8 million viewers last week with the program "New adventures of Old Christine" to 8.7 million viewers for the Obama show.


FOX lost some people when compared to its regular programming.  Bones usually appears in that time slot.  It received 10 million viewers last time.  Obama produced 8 million last night.


How did this compare against other recent televised political events?

Ross Perot aired infomercials in 1992 and in 1996.  His highest rated program in 1992 (he ran 15 that year) received 26 million viewers, while his sole infomercial in 1996 drew close to 22.7 million viewers.

Sarah Palin's appearance on Saturday Night Live drew the best ratings the program had in 14 years with 17 million people tuning in.  Not bad a for a show that airs at midnight on the East coast.

The vice presidential debate was the highest of all the debates this year with 73 million people tuning in.   The highest rated presidential debate this year was the second one with 63.2 million viewers.

Jon Stewart

As noted earlier, we preferred Obama on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.  No word on how many people tuned in at Comedy Central.   But it was much funnier than the :30 minute infomercial.  Not that humor is everything, but at this stage of the race -- we need it.

To watch the video, click here.

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