Comcast Corp., the proud new owners of NBCUniversal for a whopping price tag of $16.7 billion, brings in more than $55 billion in revenue annually, but most of those dollars that came from gun advertising will now disappear.
As American politicians and cultural warriors wrestle with what to do about the ubiquity of gun violence, Comcast—the largest cable provider in the country—has announced that it won’t be taking ads for guns on any of its television, cable, Internet, radio and voice services across the country anymore, OutdoorLife.com reports. The change is reflective of a similar policy that had been in place at NBCUniversal, which prohibited advertisements for weapons or fireworks.
The change has led for some to predict the loss of billions of dollars in revenue for the weapons industry, according to Outdoor Life.
Tom Wright, who owns the Williams Gun Sight Michigan, was aggravated by the news but told thelocal ABC affiliate that it wasn’t going to put a stop to his business. "We've been in this community for many years and we have enjoyed promoting our products in this community and will continue to do that with Comcast or without them."
Of course, that means finding other channels that will take his ads. Time Warner Cable, the nation’s second-largest cable provider, won’t take ads for semiautomatic weapons but does still accept gun ads, according to MSN. Fox and ESPN also won’t accept advertisements for guns, AdWeek reports.
This whole thing has got plenty of advertisers and gun groups unhappy and there is the possibility of lawsuit, Outdoor Life notes. “The next step is we want to get the lawmakers on Capitol Hill to review the monopolistic rights this company (Comcast) currently enjoys as the largest cable provider in the United States,” John Kupiec, president of the advertising agency Canadian American Corp., told CBS Detroit.
MSN points out that the ban “only applies to commercial time sold by Comcast Spotlight, the advertising-sales division of Comcast Cable that sells local spots on national cable channels.” That means that the ban will mostly affect local gun shops but that gun ads will still appear on the Sportsman Channel and the Outdoor Channel.
This is just the lastest hit on the firearms industry. In January, CBS Chicago reported that city mayor Rahm Emanuel was pressuring banking institutions to no longer do business with gun makers. Emanuel instructed both Bank of America and T.D. Bank to cut off their multi-million dollar lines of credit to companies including Smith & Wesson and Sturm, Ruger & Co.
Recently, the Sportsman Channel got a lot of people angry when it ran an ad from the NRA that called President Obama an “elitist hypocrite” for asking citizens to put down their guns while his daughters were constantly protected by gun-wielding security.
Following the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn. last December, the NRA went silent for a while (a tactic it used after the 2011 Arizona shooting that injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords) and then came out on the aggressive, producing the commercial that mentioned President Obama’s daughters as well as releasing an online game called “NRA: Practice Range” that initially suggested kids ages 4 and up should use it. That age was adjusted up to 12 years a few days later. The NRA also debuted a nightly on-hour cable talk show on the Sportsman Channel.
Guns played a part in a recent ABC-related controversy when British singer Morrissey, who seems to be more well known these days for being a vegan and an animal-rights activist than a musician,refused to appear on Tuesday’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” because his fellow guests were slated to be cast members of the reality TV series “Duck Dynasty,” which focuses on a family that has made its riches mostly from the sale of duck calls for hunters.
"As far as my reputation is concerned, I can't take the risk of being on a show alongside people who, in effect, amount to animal serial killers," Morrissey said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "If Jimmy cannot dump 'Duck Dynasty,' then we must step away."
Not only did Kimmel not dump the duck hunters, but he took the opportunity to poke some fun at Morrissey and had his staff create a fake commercial for a new vegan-themed product sold by the Duck Dynasty folks: a carrot caller. "Just blow into the Carrot Call and wait. Those little suckers leap right out of the dirt and into your mouth," the commercial said