Bonjour Quebec

June 21, 2006 by Dave Haynes

I am back in Montreal, albeit briefly. It is one of those up and back trips in which all you see of the city is from office and taxicab windows.

I am sitting in the departure lounge looking at the Astral Media screens that have been installed here and in many of the lounges. I mentioned a long time ago they got it right in terms of height and angle, but had some pretty shaky ideas about the screen, which appeared entirely unprotected.

When I saw first saw this, the screens were not on. Now that they’re running, it’s nothing to get much excited about – though an improvement over the cluttered screen mess ClearChannel is running at Pearson Airport in Toronto

I like how Astral has resisted all temptation and made everything full screen, instead of breaking it up into content zones.

But the content itself is just shovelware broadcast news, CBC/RDI weather, lifestyle and entertainment stuff that is not at all in tune with the environment or the dynamics. Unless you choose to sit right in front of the screens, you don’t hear the audio clearly, and the content pieces have the same set-up as for conventional broadcast news. Simply, it’s not interesting.

My real sniff test is how many people were watching it. Like the never engaging CNN Airport, I saw very few people paying any attention in the 30 minutes I was in the lounge. Hardly scientific, I know.

What’s new since I was last in Montreal’s Trudeau Airport is a set of screens, maybe 37 inchers and dozens of them back to back, hanging in portrait mode around many of the check-in areas. Sponsored, or bankrolled, or managed, or something … by Bell, these screens play a simple transitioning slide show of high quality photos depicting the province of Quebec. Nothing fancy about it at all, but the Bonjour Quebec screens, as they are dubbed, are nice. They add to the environment and experience.

I have no idea what the business model around this may be, but my guess is it is simply a tool of Quebec’s tourism ministry, which has a website called

If anyone knows more, chime in.

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