This just in from a Nielsen Co. press release about Barack Obama's infomercial:
* Overall, for the six networks that aired the program simultaneously, the spot had a household rating of 21.7% (meaning that 21.7 percent of all households watching television were tuned to the spot) in the top 56 local markets. In Boston, the rating was 25.7 -- meaning that just over a quarter of local households tuned in.
* In comparison, the final debate between the two presidential candidates received a 38.3 household rating in the top 56 local TV markets. The candidates’ first debate on September 26 received a 34.7 household rating in the top 55 markets; their second debate, on October 7, received a 42.0 household rating in those markets.
* The last presidential candidate to air a paid simulcast was Ross Perot in 1996, which received a national household rating of 16.8.
* Last night, the Baltimore market had the largest TV audience, with a household rating of 31.3, while the Portland (Oregon, not Maine) market had the lowest household rating: 14.2.
For perspective, George Bush's State of the Union address in 2006 received a 26.9% rating (roughly 41.7 million people).