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Comcast Spotlight Nixes Gun Ads

Comcast Spotlight, the ad sales division of Comcast Cable, will no longer accept gun ads, a spokesman confirms. The policy will also apply to ammunition.

"Consistent with long standing NBC policies, Comcast Spotlight has decided it will not accept new advertising for firearms or weapons moving forward. This policy aligns us with the guidelines in place at many media organizations."

The industry policy may be longstanding, but the move comes shortly after Time Warner Cable announced it would no longer be carrying certain types of gun ads, and in the wake of the Newtown shootings and pressure from the government for all sectors to look for ways to discourage gun violence.

Comcast top policy exec David Cohen was among a handful of media execs who met with the President after the Newtown shootings to talk about what could be done to curb gun violence.

Unlike TWC, which banned certain types of guns and ammo, the Comcast Spotlight move is a blanket prohibition on firearms and ammunition ads, said a source familiar with the policy. Any gun or ammo ads that have been booked will only run through the end of March, or whenever their flight is over, whichever comes first. No new businesses in the now-former ad category was booked as of Feb. 8.

Spotlight sells local operator avails in roughly the top 50 cable nets in each market.

With Comcast's announcement, that means that the three largest cable operators, according to National Cable & Telecommunications Association's top 25 list--Comcast, TWC and Cox--either restrict or do not carry gun ads.

According to a Cox Media Spokesperson, its ad policy, last updated in 2011, states: "The advertising of sporting rifles and its ammunition, handguns and its ammunition, or mail-order firearms and its ammunition is not acceptable."

Also aong the "many media organizations" that have policies against gun advertising are Fox, ESPN, and Google AdWords.