Obama campaign makes $5 million Olympic ad buy
US presidential candidate Barack Obama's campaign has bought $5 million worth of advertising time from NBC Universal to run TV spots during the Olympic Games, a source familiar with the deal said on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
The package, believed to be an unprecedented political media buy for the Olympics, includes commercials that will run on the NBC network and cable channels such as USA, MSNBC and CNBC during the August broadcast of the Summer Games, the source said.
Both NBC and Obama's campaign declined to comment.
NBC Universal, a division of General Electric Co, is planning carry a record 3,600 hours of Olympic coverage across its broadcast, cable TV and online outlets. Live web streaming of events will account for about 2,200 hours of the coverage.
So far, NBC Universal has sold more than $900 million in advertising time for the games, booking nearly 90 percent of its inventory. Rates have averaged $750,000 for a 30-second spot, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
It is unclear how much the Obama campaign paid for each 30-second spot or when the commercials would air. But the Olympic deal comes as a record is expected to be set in presidential campaign spending on TV advertisements.
With Democrat Obama and Republican John McCain locked in a close contest, Campaign Media Analysis Group, which tracks political advertising, forecasts that the candidates will spend more than $800 million combined in 2008. The previous record tally for a presidential election was $500 million in 2004.
Big-event broadcasts such as the Olympics, Super Bowl and Academy Awards command top dollar from advertisers because they represent one of the few programming choices that consistently draw mass audiences. Moreover, viewers tend to watch such broadcasts in real time, rather than on digital video recording devices that allow viewers to skip through commercials.
The Olympics carry an added bonus for corporate sponsors or political candidates - a steady stream of patriotic images of athletes decked out in red, white and blue uniforms or waving flags.
Because Obama opted out of the public campaign finance system, he is expected to have more money to spend on TV advertising than McCain, who will likely have to choose his advertising spots more carefully.