One million ads. More than $US1 billion. Ten battleground states.
They are the eye-popping figures that tell the story of the 2012 US presidential campaign TV ad blitz. Never before has so much money been spent on so many commercials aimed at so few voters.
Television ads were the primary communications tool for both President Barack Obama and challenger Mitt Romney, despite the gradual but persistent shift of viewers from TV to the internet.
Both teams maintained a robust social media presence and used online ads for micro-targeting voters based on their reading and shopping habits.
But nothing came close to their investment in the kind of 30- and 60-second TV spots that have defined presidential campaigns for nearly half a century.
"The decline of television advertising hasn't happened, and it's not going away anytime soon," said Erika Franklin Fowler, director of the Wesleyan University Media Project which tracks campaign advertising.
"TV is where you look for the persuadable voter and the internet is what you use to mobilise your base."
The two presidential campaigns, the political parties and their allied independent groups aired 1,015,615 ads between June 1 and October 29, the Wesleyan project found - almost 40 per cent more than the number that ran in the same period in 2008, when Obama defeated John McCain.
The proliferation of campaign commercials was fuelled by an unprecedented level of spending.
The candidates, parties and groups spent more than $US1.08 billion ($A1.04 billion) in total on commercials since April according to data compiled by media trackers.
But the ads were directed at an ever-shrinking universe of voters.
Nine states - Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin - saw the vast majority of the campaign spots, with a 10th state, Pennsylvania, emerging late as an advertising battleground as well.
Almost no one outside of them has seen an ad except for a few national cable and broadcast buys.
"Fewer people are witnessing the onslaught than ever before. The ones that are are getting carpet bombed," Fowler said.
A newly empowered spate of independent groups helped contribute to the glut, investing millions in their own TV advertising to influence the 2012 contest.
US television stations, by law, must grant presidential candidates lower ad rates than regular commercial advertisers receive.
That discount is not available to the political parties nor the outside groups, forcing them to pay much higher rates in battleground states where ad space is at a premium.
That's in part why Obama aired more spots than did Romney and his allies.
Obama and Democratic-leaning groups spent approximately $460 million on the airwaves, the vast majority coming from the president's campaign.
Romney and the Republican groups spent $624 million, more than half of which came from outside groups.
The president's campaign aired about 503,000 ads since June 1, the Wesleyan study found, compared to about 191,000 for Romney.
The Republican hopeful was aided by some 270,000 ads from outside groups supporting his candidacy.
While there is no question the outside groups helped bring Romney to parity with Obama on the airwaves, the president's campaign, by taking advantage of the lower ad rate, spent less money to air more ads.