Key player: PRN
Locations: More than 6,000 stores, including
Potential audience: 250 million viewers monthly
Programming: Content from the Food Network, Discovery Health, and Reuters
Major advertisers: Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Unilever,
Nielsen says: Among Best Buy viewers, 55% of those surveyed could recall the ads they viewed.
Viewing experience: Remember when you could watch a ball game on the bank of TVs in the electronics department? Those were the days.
Key player: Gas Station TV
Locations: 400 U.S. cities
Potential audience: 30 million monthly
Programming: CBS creates 4.5-minute blocks of custom content, including two segments for news and one for entertainment.
Major advertisers: Car- and snack-related brands such as Chevrolet,
Nielsen says: In January 2008, 84% of those surveyed said they'd view or listen to GSTV at their next fill-up.
Viewing experience: The 20-inch screen on top of the pump diverts your attention from gas prices.
Key player: CBS Outernet
Locations: 1,500 stores, including Albertsons, Jewel, and Price Chopper
Potential audience: 80 million monthly
Programming: CBS's clips from Dr. Phil, Inside Edition, and Entertainment Tonight, plus magazine content from More, American Baby, and Family Circle
Major advertisers: Grocery giants
Nielsen says: Approximately 38% of its potential audience actively watches or listens to
Viewing experience: Screens are in the produce and meat departments rather than at checkout, to promote specials and offer recipes — and catch you while there's still time to fill your cart.
Key player: AccentHealth
Locations: 11,200 doctors' offices
Potential audience: More than 140 million viewers annually
Programming: CNN designs a special health show that covers topics such as parenting, nutrition, stress reduction, and smoking cessation.
Major Advertisers: CVS, Quaker, and 9 of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies
Nielsen says: According to a 2006 study, 93% of surveyed viewers rated AccentHealth programming either "good" or "excellent."
Viewing experience: According to Nielsen, the average wait time for patients is 30.2 minutes. In other words, they're the ultimate captive audience.
The Proverbial "third place"
Key Player: Ripple
Locations: More than 1,500 stores, including Borders, Jack in the Box, and the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf
Potential audience: More than 20 million consumers monthly
Programming: Reuters, E! Entertainment, The New York Times,
Updated: Live feeds
Nielsen says: An October 2007 study shows that 61% of consumers viewed Ripple where it aired, and 74% said they'd watch again.
Viewing experience: Segments run from 15 seconds to 2.5 minutes, because heaven forbid we ever get bored.
A version of this article appeared in the July/August 2008 issue of Fast Company magazine.