PRN Launches Airport DOOH Network, Looking To Fill Void Created by CNN Airport Shutdown

March 8, 2021 by Dave Haynes

The shopper engagement firm PRN is making a move to fill the vacuum left in U.S. airport departure lounges created by CNN winding down its airport TV business.

PRN, which got its start in media almost 30 years ago, putting TVs in Walmarts and other big box retail venues, is launching the Ascend Media Network, which would have roughly the same media model as CNN’s service, which is ending at the close of this month.

PRN is owned by STRATACACHE and already does screens in c-stores and in pharmacies.

“Ascend Media Network offers a fresh modern viewing experience, a highly flexible content and advertising platform, operational excellence, and a dedicated sales team, bolstered by 30 years of experience turning in-venue traffic into advertising dollars.”

We have been working behind the scenes on this for some time,” says Kevin Carbone, CEO of PRN. “We’ve lined up an A-list of content partners (networks, sports leagues, travel and lifestyle), and we’re bringing tremendous innovation to the airport media business, including gate-specific destination content, up-to-the-minute local content feeds, premium social, streaming, online video partnerships, mobile integration, and Ascend Media original programming.”

Underneath the hood, the technology powering Ascend Media Network is PRN’S monetization engine — which includes natively-architected custom displays, optimal directional sound, integrated hardware and software, a next-gen content management system, screen-level targeting, dayparting, programmatic enablement and advanced viewer analytics.

Rounding out Ascend Media Network is PRN’s advertising sales force, a dedicated group of media sales professionals, specialists in tapping into a broad and diversified portfolio of media budgets including digital, out-of-home, shopper, programmatic, innovation and omni-channel.

With the launch of Ascend Media Network, PRN demonstrates commitment to the airport media space: “Airports who are considering new media channels are in an amazing position to innovate right now. While they need to move quickly, we’re prepared to make it a smooth transition, with airports actually in a better position than before.”

Warning: pun ahead …

“All signs point to airport traffic exceeding pre-COVID-19 levels by 2024,” adds Carbone. “We know this space is primed to Ascend!”

The airport lounge thing has never been a favorite DOOH medium of mine, but a lot of that would have to do with programming decisions. The CNN model has been what amounts to “shovelware” – content created for one medium and shoveled on to this one, albeit with some customization.

The advantage STRATACACHE and PRN bring are the ability to put in a vertically integrated solution, unlike just about every other media company that would have to put a solution together from a variety of vendors. STRATACACHE through various companies can do everything from software and analytics to display hardware.

I dunno if the existing infrastructure at CNN-installed airports is of use, but things like Cat 5 and power cables and conduit run in the ceilings to the departure lounges is EXPENSIVE – especially in a secure environment like an airport. Re-using what’s in place will make the economics work better. I doubt many mainstream OOH companies would chase this end of the business, as the Decauxs, Lamars and ClearChannels are sellers of digital posters, not creators of content programming for travelers.

  1. For your information JCDecaux makes since decades the “Airport TV” content for Paris Airport group. This broadcast is made from news and weather coming from a broadcaster specialist. No direct live feed allowed due to airport specific location in case of airplane crash for instance and panic risk inside a boarding gate.

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