CNN's giant logo outside the company's studios in Atlanta.
Photo: AJC
Photo: AJC

Hartsfield-Jackson to rebid CNN contract

Other companies are also interested in the business.

Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport plans to extend its contract for CNN Airport Network programming airing around the terminal and concourses, as it makes plans to rebid the contract.

Atlanta-based CNN’s current contract for network news broadcast system at the Atlanta airport started in 2006. The contract was due to expire in 2016 and has been extended multiple times on a month-to-month basis since then.

CNN Airport Network has paid the city of Atlanta $798,000 in rent over the past five years, according to documents submitted to the Atlanta City Council.

The Atlanta airport started a contracting process for the network news broadcast system in 2016 and in February 2017 got a proposal from one company: CNN Airport Network, the incumbent. The proposal was “deemed non-responsive” or disqualified, and the contract was rebid. In June 2017, two companies submitted proposals: CBS and CNN Airport Network owner AC Holdings.

Hartsfield-Jackson general manager Roosevelt Council said before awarding the contract, “I had my team look at this a little bit closer.”

Council said the airport is interested in attracting more proposal by rebidding it, and terms may change to include more of a focus on premium programming. “We’re also trying to have more family-oriented programming there as well,” and to update the technology to upload the airport’s own advertising.

CBS isn’t the only one targeting the airport programming market long dominated by CNN. Clear Channel Airports, which handles advertising at Hartsfield-Jackson and other airports, in 2012 launched an airport television network called ClearVision and partners with Clear TV Media for the effort.

Clear TV is interested in the Hartsfield-Jackson contract and plans on bidding for it, according to Clear TV vice president Norman Olshansky.

Clear TV didn’t previously bid on the Atlanta contract “because the RFP was too narrow” and “seemed drafted to attract only a news provider” while ClearVision is an entertainment-centric network including news and other programming, according to Olshansky in e-mailed comments.

As airport officials make plans to rebid the contract again, they are asking for city council approval to again extend CNN’s contract.

The Atlanta City Council finance committee this week voted unanimously in favor of extending the CNN contract until July 2018, and it next goes to the full council for approval.

About the Author

Kelly Yamanouchi
Kelly Yamanouchi
Business reporter Kelly Yamanouchi covers airlines and the airport.

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