Entertainment that Reaches for the Skies4 May, 2004 By: Holly J. Wagner
Is video headed for an air war?
Maybe. I ask this question because of all the new entertainment options becoming available on airlines. The downtime up in the air is a great place to catch a movie on a laptop or portable player and could also be a great place to advertise the possibilities.
Last week, Delta Airlines announced it had outfitted all 36 planes in its discount Song fleet with a variety of entertainment options, including Dish Network TV channels. By the end of the year, the airline plans to offer video-on-demand and pay-per-view movies as well as video games.
Movielink CEO Jim Ramo has said that the largest percentage of that service's users are business travelers who download movies before they go and watch them literally on the fly.
Vending machine boosters covet airport locations — difficult to get because most jurisdictions don't want a lot of vending machines in their airports, so floor space is unlikely to be available anyplace except where they can convince existing gift shop merchants to give it up.
In that environment it would be more practical to offer EZ-D disposable discs, although the title selection is still quite limited. But air travelers are a captive audience with an immediate need, so the disposable disc could be a good option.
Netflix is also a good choice, because travelers can take the movie from home, watch it on the way to the destination and drop it into the mail wherever they land in the United States. Netflix also has more selection than any of the other options.
All of this would make it seem that in-flight magazines and onboard audio and videocasts are the perfect place to advertise these new approaches. Of course, it would not be feasible for small operations, but Flexplay and Buena Vista, for example, could run spots promoting the disposable discs on routes to and from cities that have them. Ditto for Netflix and Movielink, which have greater selection and cover all U.S. markets.
With the vacation season nearly upon us, it's worth thinking about where your customers, and your business, are going this summer.