Arbitron: Heightened Security Proves Boon To Airport Media

One unintended consequence of heightened airline security in the wake of the terrorist attacks of almost three years ago: More time to market to passengers.

And that's just what's happening, according to a study released Monday afternoon by Arbitron. Its latest out-of-home study finds that advertising at airports is not only moving beyond the business-to-business traveler--it's also a pretty good place to find upscale consumers.

Ninety-two million Americans have flown in the past year, including 17 million who take more than four roundtrip flights a year and who Arbitron custom research analyst Diane Williams says account for 58 percent of all advertising impressions at the airport.

"This is a large community," Williams said.

And they are high-value consumers that advertisers crave. They tend to have higher average household incomes, with more spending money, and are well-educated. Thirty-three percent of the frequent fliers earn more than $100,000 a year in household income, compared to 10 percent in the general population. But the benefits to demographic extend beyond that.

"This is an upscale medium," Williams said Monday. "Americans who take just one flight a year are 80 percent more likely to live in a household with $100,000 or more of income a year."

This is Arbitron's fourth out-of-home study, called "The Arbitron Airport Advertising Study: Exploring an Undiscovered Upscale Medium." In the past three years, Arbitron has reported on the outdoor industry (2001), cinema advertising (2003), and in-car (2003).

This most recent study didn't generally take into account video like The Airport Channel, although Arbitron did measure billboards and street furniture, among other out-of-home. Arbitron found that 82 percent of frequent fliers say they've taken the time to read airport furniture, for instance.

Arbitron also broke down airports by DMA in New York and San Francisco to show the possibilities.

"This can either be a national medium or a local medium," she said.