What drives him crazy about the situation, he said, isn’t watching CNN –- he already does that on his own – but the fact that the same on-screen pundits seem to follow him as he flies across the country.
CNN’s original parent company, Turner Broadcasting System, got the jump on the airport-television business in a less media-saturated time, the early 1990s, when Fox News was little more than a gleam in Rupert Murdoch’s eye and round-the-clock cable news had a lot to prove as a business proposition. It first tested the closed-circuit airport channel in 1991 in Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas. The CNN Airport Network has steadily grown since its official launch the following year.
Even if CNN’s constant presence can be a drag for air travelers, it’s a win for both the airports and the network: The former are paid by CNN and the latter rakes in ad revenue from the channel. In promotional materials, CNN Airport touts its captive flying audience as 40-ish, well-salaried, and “upscale and influential.” The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that its hometown airport made a minimum of $90,000 from its 2014 contract with CNN.