It used to be that the airport lounge was where passengers went to escape the fray of the terminal. They offered up snacks and drinks and maybe a quiet corner to take a call or a TV to watch sports/news/whatever. Today their role is shifting as the free benefits continue to be reduced. And, if one company has its way, there will also be another revenue source for the lounges: massive advertising panels. The good news about the displays is that they are absolutely beautiful. I got to see some of the 84″ 4K LG screens at the Delta SkyClub in JFK T4 and the picture quality is absolutely spectacular. The bad news is that, while they’re currently being used to share news or pretty pictures the goal is to eventually have them showing sponsored content and advertising, coordinated with the ads you’ll see on the in-flight screens or via ad placements on in-flight internet services such as gogo.
I got to speak with RMG, the company putting the screens in at SkyClubs, and I have to say that I can appreciate their position. The segmented market that they have access to in the lounges is one which many advertisers would want to target. And it isn’t the first time things like this have happened. Delta had the Nike putting greens in some clubs, too, while Chase has had credit card applications out at United Clubs in the past. And it seems that customers have been willing to take it thus far. We’ll see if they continue to tolerate it going forward.
Also, check out the original report I wrote about the new screens for APEX; it goes in to a lot more detail about the technology behind the displays and how RMG is hoping to use them.
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