Since 1992, CNN Airport Network has tried to target them by placing TV sets in terminals. Now, Time Warner's Turner Broadcasting System is taking the concept overseas.
Earlier this month, CNN installed 140 screens at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport in an effort to expand its reach abroad. That coupled with a small presence in Frankfurt International Airport will serve as test markets while the network decides how aggressively to pursue global expansion.
AIMING FOR WORLD TRAVELERS
As specialized TV networks continue to sprout up everywhere from mall food courts to schools, CNN is hoping to get a head start targeting world travelers. For now, the two test airports will carry the same programming and advertising as CNN International, except for 2 minutes an hour allotted for local advertising.
TBS plans to use the next year determining whether to move to a programming mix similar to that in its U.S. Airport Network.
To limit repetition, the U.S. network recently switched from a 2-hour programming format that ran continuously each day to a mixed format that includes half-hour blocks of the CNN Headline News channel; live sports such as NFL and NBA games; and shows such as "CNN Showbiz Today," "Burden of Proof" and "Crossfire."
"We don't know the international viewer like we do the American viewer," said Deborah Cooper, senior VP at TBS' Turner Private Networks. "We don't know their tolerance for talking heads and the mixture of programs."
CNN Airport Network sells about 80% of its advertising as part of package deals with other TBS networks, though advertisers can run commercials on it exclusively.
Avis Rent A Car System recently bought a block of commercial time on the Airport Network. Bates USA, New York, handled those spots.
Asea Brown Boveri, the automation and engineering giant that works with public utilities and oil companies, spends 90% of its TBS ad dollars via the airport unit, according to John O'Hara, VP, CNN Sales.
"It's targeted," said an Asea Brown spokesman of CNN Airport Network. "The people you're reaching in the airport tend to be the frequent travelers, and the frequent traveler in turn tends to be the government or professional person you're trying to reach."
McCann-Erickson U.K., London, handles.
CNN isn't the only network to make a push into airports, though its reach is by far the most extensive. Bloomberg has placed its terminals in executive/frequent traveler clubs; its network is in airports in Detroit, and Orlando and Jacksonville, Fla..
NBC, with its cable networks CNBC and MSNBC, is believed to have considered some sort of airport network, but hasn't yet launched a venture.
The network has been under pressure to look for alternate revenue streams as broadcast viewership continues to decline.
NBC declined to comment.
Media companies also are looking for new ways to get their content into the air-travel arena.
Last year, iMagic Technology and Turner International signed a deal making CNN Interactive's content available via pay phones sporting videoscreens at Hong Kong International Airport.
The Bloomberg Investor Phone is available through GTE Airfones -- for $1.99 a minute -- and it expects to provide a stock market ticker free on the back of