NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - The Barack Obama presidential campaign will pay NBC and CBS almost $1 million each for the campaign's half-hour ad buy in primetime on October 29, according to documents made available by the respective networks.
The agreed-upon prices are not what it would cost an average advertiser for a half-hour time buy, which is extremely rare in broadcast network primetime anyway. They are determined by the so-called "lowest unit cost" that is required under federal law.
The campaign's ad buyer GMMB of Washington, D.C., first approached CBS as well as NBC, ABC and Fox for half-hour time buys on Thursday, October 30, Sunday, November 2 and Monday, November 3 -- the latter just one day before the election. But Sunday's "roadblock" of ads had been deemed unworkable due to NFL football on NBC during primetime and possibly late-running games on both CBS and Fox.
The Thursday and Sunday buys would have been more costly, with CBS quoting the campaign a lowest unit cost of $1.5 million for 8-8:30 pm and $1.8 million for 8:30-9 pm. On September 25, a CBS internal communication suggested that the campaign wasn't interested "as of now" in the Thursday spot.
The Obama campaign declined to provide other details other than to say that it had bought time on CBS and was negotiating with other networks.