The Big Story: Michael Bloomberg’s Money Bomb

The Big Story podcast

Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg’s wealth couldn’t buy him a great debate Wednesday night.

This week on The Big Story, the team looks at how his money has affected the paid media space. As our own James Hercher points out: “The ROI only shows up when people turn out to vote.” And, despite vaulting into second place thanks to his unstoppable ad spending, Bloomberg, unprotected from the warm embrace of paid media on Wednesday, showed massive vulnerabilities.

Up to this point, though, Bloomberg has certainly disrupted all of the Democratic candidates by dropping pallets of cash into the electoral field. But there’s a little more to that narrative. Bloomberg’s money actually gives the campaign leeway to experiment and to innovate – at least within the context of political campaigns, which tend to be more conservative strategically.

The Bloomberg campaign has also been able to buy staffers and employees who might ordinarily not support him. While the Bernie Sanders campaign is staffed with true believers, Bloomberg’s has a lot of people attracted to the big payout.

Moving away – far away – from politics, the team looks at retailers and tech companies without legacy media selling roots getting into media sales. Roku, for example, has high hopes for its paid media business in 2020, and TV manufacturer Vizio, despite being a late mover, is angling to capture some of that thunder for itself.


Meanwhile, Target, Walmart and Kroger are at different stages of selling ad inventory on their respective sites. We’ll compare the challenges and opportunities these different brands and verticals face as they enter into a new, high-margin media world.

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