Barely four months out of office, the recently retired, billionaire mayor of New York City is winning share of voice among TV stations covering the issue of gun control.
While the National Rifle Association has been the dominant pro-gun voice in local and national coverage for decades, those seeking tougher gun ownership legislation have been a more splintered lobby.
A Critical Mention study into coverage of gun control this week reveals a willingness by local and national TV news outlets to dedicate coverage to the anti-gun organization being supported in a very big way by Bloomberg’s $50 million pledge.
The group, Everytown for Gun Safety, will serve as an umbrella organization for two Bloomberg-backed gun-control organizations: Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
In the past 30 days, the NRA has been mentioned on TV almost 1,000 times, with more than 300 mentions in the past seven days.
However, in the past two days, Everytown for Gun Safety surged – with 123 mentions, across more than 60 TV markets.
The estimated audience of these announcements has been almost 3 million viewers, according to Nielsen. That’s earned media value (as opposed to a paid advertisement) of more than $100,000.
This is a first victory for the Bloomberg-backed groups, which will attempt to influence policy through grass-roots efforts aimed at swaying one million voters.
The opposition is formidable. The nonprofit research foundation Just Facts reports the NRA has more than 4.3 million members and more than $205 million in annual revenue.
Bloomberg, whose estimated net worth of $31 billion places him 17th on the Forbes list of richest people, has the means to continue impacting the discussion of gun control.
For politicians, the message is clear that both Bloomberg and the NRA will be keeping records and assigning score cards based on voting records. We’re betting that measuring the share of voice and tenor of media coverage will be a major focus in this year of mid-term Congressional elections.