CNN announced on Tuesday that it would pull the plug on its long-running airport network and cause cheers among many of the network’s critics on social media.
Network President Jeff Zucker announced that the CNN Airport Network will officially end on March 31, citing a “deep drop in airport traffic due to COVID-19 combined with all the new ways people use content on their personal devices.”
“Having to say goodbye to such a beloved brand is not easy,” Zucker wrote. “I want to thank our friends and colleagues who have contributed to its success and celebrate the fact that for 30 years the CNN Airport Network has kept millions of domestic travelers informed. It has also become an iconic part of the travel experience in this Country.”
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For years, CNN critics tricked the anti-Trump network into relying heavily on airport travelers for its viewership, which had cratered much of the Trump presidency.
“Best. News. NEVER,” NewsBusters CEO Curtis Houck declared on Twitter.
“Wtf I love COVID now …” joked spectator US editor Amber Athey.
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“2021 is already looking up,” wrote Daily Wire senior editor Emily Zanotti.
“CNN has just lost 95 percent of its viewership,” said conservative commentator Matt Walsh.
“You hate to see it, and by that I mean of course CNN at the airport,” Twitter conservative David Burge said.
For decades, CNN was the only network shown on airport television while travelers waited at gates, bars, food stalls and carousels for luggage requirements.
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CNN Airport does not use exactly the same feed as standard CNN, as additional sports and weather segments are added while some graphic video is removed. CNN Airport also goes out of its way not to broadcast any coverage of plane crashes or other disasters that could incur passengers.
As part of the deal, CNN paid airports to leave the network on, and many travel centers even have deals where CNN pays for their TV and infrastructure. The Philadelphia Inquirer previously reported that airports also receive “up to six minutes every hour to promote the airport or local attractions” as part of the agreement.
“CNN Airport covers the costs of the TVs and related infrastructure, provides programming specifically tailored to airports, and pays us for the opportunity to be at our facility,” a Minneapolis-Saint Paul International representative told Fox News in 2018, while The Miami International spokesman simply pointed to a document proving that CNN is willing to pay the most.
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Long-term contracts typically gave CNN the ability to curate content viewed by travelers, whether they like it or not. The eight-year contract, signed in 2016, promises Miami International Airport “a maximum annual guarantee of $ 150,000” that can be adjusted annually to ensure that the agreement is on par with similar airports.
For years, the agreements had blurred the boundaries between news and advertising, as the network blurred the boundaries between news and political activism.
Fox News’ Brian Flood contributed to this report.