CNN is shuttering the CNN Airport Network effective March 31. That means an end to those televisions blaring news across approximately 50 U.S. airports. The cable network explains that this is because of a decline in air travel, and more people “consuming content on their personal devices” rather than watching their broadcasts.
Producing separate content isn’t the primary expense. It’s true that CNN Airport Network, which broadcasts 24 hours a day 7 days a week, is different than the primary channel. It doesn’t show sexually explicit or violent content or air disasters. However the main cost is payments to airports (at least $150,000 a year to a single large airport) in addition to the cost of the video screens and connectivity to show the broadcasts. They then sold advertising on the network to generate revenue.
The service initially ran in the summer of 1991 at Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, and Chicago O’Hare and then formally debuted at the start of 1992. CNN Airport Network will not see its 30th birthday.
Jeff Zucker has notified CNN staff that "the CNN Airport Network will end operations as of March 31."
"The steep decline in airport traffic because of COVID-19, coupled with all the new ways that people are consuming content on their personal devices, has lessened the need…" pic.twitter.com/9se3oCw1gr
— Oliver Darcy (@oliverdarcy) January 12, 2021
Like American Airlines, CNN appears to believe the future is in people watching entertainment on their own devices rather than the screens provided for them.