I joked in the past that the only people watching CNN are those forced to do so at airports – but as a relatively infrequent flyer, I hadn’t realized that the network literally does command a monopoly in America’s airports across the nation.
At every gate, bar, and waiting area, CNN’s messaging is played in our nation’s airports. Sometimes it feels like you can’t walk fifteen feet without being reminded what the last thing Trump tweeted was.
The history of CNN’s monopoly in airports dates back to 1992, with the creation of “CNN Airport.” Airports are notorious for offering a horrendous customer experience, and TV’s are just one of many things they’ve cheaped out on. So when CNN came to airports, offered to give them a bunch of free televisions and write them a check on the condition that they play CNN 24/7, none of them said no.
According to Fox News:
CNN pays airports to leave the network on, and many travel hubs even have agreements in which CNN pays for their TVs and infrastructure. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that airports also receive “up to six minutes each hour to promote the airport or local attractions” as part of the deal.
“CNN Airport covers the costs related to the TVs and related infrastructure, provides programming specifically geared for airports, and pays us for the opportunity to be in our facility,” a representative from Minneapolis-Saint Paul International said, while Miami International’s spokesperson simply pointed us to a document proving that CNN is willing to pay the most.
Long-term contracts typically give CNN the ability to curate content seen by travelers whether they like it or not. The eight-year contract that was signed in 2016 promises Miami International Airport “a maximum annual guarantee of $150,000” that may be adjusted annually to ensure the deal is on par with similar airports.
According to a CNN Airport media kit, an incredible 323 million people view CNN Airport on an annual basis at the 2,400-plus gates throughout the country that carry the channel.
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CNN Airport’s coverage technically differs from that of CNN, but only that they add in sports and weather coverage to their regularly political spin. Unlike regular CNN, CNN Airport also doesn’t cover plane crashes.
When’s the last time you voluntarily watched CNN? Be sure to let us know in the comments!
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