Media goes retail. Target: airports.

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The Media are no longer just messengers, they are progressive merchandisers. Their first target—airports. Detroit Metropolitan Air-port's North Terminal opened the first USA Today and Sports Illustrated retail stores on Sept. 17, offering newspapers, magazines, refreshments and merchandise. “Airport travelers are a unique customer set, with an unusually high age and income demographic. ... [They] thrive on information,” said Laura Samuels, spokeswoman for Hudson Group, which manages airport stores for CNN, one of which is planned for Chicago's O'Hare International Airport. USA Today plans to debut three more Travel Zone locations across the U.S. by the end of the year. CNBC is planning seven, and The New York Times, three. Fox News Channel is also working to expand beyond its six sites at four airports. “We look for unique opportunities to expand the brand, our awareness and also reap some additional revenue,” said John Malkin, VP-affiliate marketing at Fox. Rick Edmonds, a media business analyst at the Poynter Institute, believes airport properties are smart ventures as long as they don't divert resources from news coverage. Most Fox News stores have monitors carrying the network with news tickers showcasing headlines, while CNBC stores installed computers for checking stock quotes.
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