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A comprehensive overview of the inflight content offering (1/2)

A compelling portfolio of content hosted on your IFE/C platform is one of the three pillars to build ​successful ancillary-generating passengers experience. The new trend is to offer your passengers a web-like experience: your IFE/C is no longer a plain screen providing Video-On-Demand! At the age of media consumption commonality, you are committed to wow your passengers.

Videos 

Credits : Nello Consulting

“Blockbusters are a no-brainer”. This is what we often hear from the industry. Obviously, when speaking about long haul flights, this assertion is true. However, blockbusters are not the only video content. As Raphael, from Nello consulting mentions it:

Nowadays, content is everywhere and a good way to escape from hours of flight is to watch interesting content. Generally speaking, most of the passengers are thinking that they absolutely need to watch a blockbuster to have a good time, it’s not 100% true! Especially if we add the constraint of a short or medium-haul-flight, passengers don’t have the time to watch a full-length movie and the airline companies are often obliged to reduce the offer to some low-level documentaries. It’s not true anymore and even people will tell you that passengers are now downloading content to their smartphone before to take off, it is only representing 5% of the population. What about the others? Airline companies still need to keep their passenger entertained. How? By choosing relevant content and not accepting everything. If you’ll take the time to look at it, there is plenty of categories that worth the case: 

  • You’re looking to keep children quiet.? There is plenty of animation from old time to the most recent with famous brands sometimes forgotten
  • You’re looking to address millenials? What about discovering the e-sport magazine with the top trends video games
  • You’re looking to entertain all generations? What about adding short form awarded movies? You’ll be surprised to recognize also a famous actor or some gold nugget.
  • Did you get a fan of Sports aboard? Offer the weekly highlights of the matches of several soccer teams or propose the band new formula electric.”

There are so many hidden gems, produced by every culture, that you will be surprised…as will be your passengers! Adding on the top of that sponsored video content, and you get the perfect mix for your passengers…and your budget.

Audio

Credits : Nello Consulting

Forget the traditional “Listen” section. Turn it into “Musical Experiences”. Since most of the passengers carry their own music on their device, providing them with the top charts, top classical is not always relevant. Your passengers are about to discover new cultures, new worlds, then offer them a musical glimpse of the in-destination music offering.

You can also include a handpicked selection of less-known artists that match to your airline brand. Or, if you don’t have the budget, you can get such selection sponsored by a music provider or a fragrance brand.

As the video is also a sought-after media, you can create a “music videos” subsection in which you offer the top 10 by music genre and/or add the set of trendy deejays

Games

Credits : Gladi8tor

Did you know that the gaming industry is one of the most dynamic industry (+11% CAGR)? Gaming is no longer a children activity. Most of the age groups, most of the social categories are impacted.

Wouldn’t you like to promote a new onboarded game within your social community, and offer your future passengers to win credits and have them redeemed them during their flight? Wouldn’t you like to organize e-sport tournaments from one aircraft to another? Would you be looking for a branded famous car race game sponsored by your official rental car partner?

All this is now possible. We highly recommended to have a real gaming strategy setup throughout the entire journey. Thanks to that, additional ancillary revenues can be driven:

  • Directly from advertising and in-game upselling
  • Indirectly through loyalty enhancement

To achieve such goal, it is mandatory to phase the project, since such strategy may involve several stakeholders in your company: IFE team, IT team, Digital Communication…

Moving Map

Credits : FlightPath3D

Who has been bored watching the aircraft slowly progressing along its flight path? Such experience can now be dramatically improved with interactive moving maps offering a Google Maps/Google earth-like experience. Thanks to high-end interactive moving maps such as FlightPath3D, your passenger can browse, swipe, zoom, and be delighted with engaging points of interest, theme-based, that can also be sponsored. Did you know that such digital experience is one of the most sought after by the passengers?

Destination Content and Services

Credits : PXCom

Did you know that 80% of the travelers rely on their paper tourist guide during their trip to sort the best points of interest and activities that will enlighten their journey? Not only tourists are looking after in-destination activities, with the rise of leisure, but you will also delight your business travelers.

Their flight is the perfect moment to engage them with a sought-after service, especially if you also provide them with the ability to book some tickets, download discount coupons…

However, you must absolutely avoid providing them with plain user-generated content such as Tripadvisor. They can access it everywhere from their mobile, at any time when they are connected. Such content contributes to the success of your brand. Prefer offering curated content, blending cold advice with seasonal editorial recommendations for a better experience.

Digital Press

Credits : Adaptive Channel

Newspapers and magazines are a traditional form of entertainment for passengers, however switching to digital press now provides airlines with significant benefits. Switching to digital press provides airlines with the rare opportunity to simultaneously reduce costs and improve the passenger experience, a rare feat for any airline with budget constraints and demanding passengers!  It reduces logistical and cleaning costs associated with a printed press but most importantly by reducing the onboard weight, it reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. On the cabin front, the digital press allows passengers to be entertained on board but also at the gate and after the flight with newspapers and magazines that are always up to date and never run out.

Digital press is also an experience that passengers really enjoy in particular on short and medium haul flights which traditionally lack a proper IFE service. For airlines, digital press may be made available to passengers on any IFE systems such as Seat-back IFE and Wireless IFE but also on the passenger’s own mobile device using a cloud based service when no IFE is available (Mobile IFE)”, states Laurent SAFAR, Adaptive Channel’s CEO

It should also be mentioned that on-board reading experience passenger experience has been enhanced by the availability of high-end eReaders which allow passengers the full use of their mobile device to read their favorite newspapers and magazines in page mode as well as in article mode, a feature particularly useful with a smartphone!

There are so many more content opportunities and strategies to discover! Don’t miss our next month issue of PXConnect for the second part of this overview.

A NEW AWARD FOR PXCom! 🏆

TravelWell® : AWARD WINNER!🏆

PXCom, Charlotte Dodson Yoga and SkyLights Inc. are proud to win the Inflight MEA 2019 Best Supplier Innovation Award for TravelWell®, the only 360° Health & Wellness experience, that elevates the passenger’s experience throughout the entire journey, whilst creating ancillary revenue opportunities for the airlines.

TravelWell® is your new immersive guest experience in health and well-being as a lifestyle digital channel, that passengers can enjoy before the flight through the airline mobile app, on the lounges wifi, during the flight regardless of the IFE/C platform, on SkyLights’ Allosky VR headset and after the flight on their own device.

Royalty & celebrity yoga teacher, Charlotte Dodson is your traveling companion to help you feel good along the way, offering visually-rich guided meditations in VR, FLYWELL onboard exercises as well as nutritional advice.

As with all of PXCom solutions, TravelWell® comes with a comprehensive set of monetizing opportunities, from onboard shopping to native advertising to in-destination sponsoring options.

5 INFLIGHTS TRENDS TO WATCH IN 2019

2019 INFLIGHT TRENDS

Inflight Connectivity

RouteHappy’s Annual Inflight Wifi Report is expected to be released In less than one month. Last year’s release showed a 17% increase on 2017 with 82 airlines offering inflight connectivity. No doubt that this year’s report will highlight a rapid increase of equipped aircraft. Yet, 2018 has also stressed the limits of Inflight Connectivity, especially when it comes to ensuring a sustainable ROI for those airlines who have heavily invested in the enhancements. Although there is no magical formula, stacking specific solutions car significantly offset some costs:

  • Use the IFC beyond the simple pax pleasure, especially for MRO usage, weather/routes optimization…
  • Use the IFC for operational cabin crew reports, saving costs
  • Split content between seatback & IFC in order to drive audience and monetization opportunities
  • Integrate connectivity-free ad-serving solution
  • Include partnerships for streaming services…

To date, Finnair appears to be one of the best in class, relying on its high-end Nordic Sky Wifi that drives ancillary revenues based on food and beverage, travel retail and upgrade sales, bundled with seamless payment solutions, especially targeting Chinese passengers with Alipay.

Personalization

Will PNR and customer data eventually be linked to the IFE platforms? As of today, it is no longer a technical issue, as Thales showcased it recently on its latest Inflyt platform. Neither it is a legal issue since GDPR provides the right frame to it and all the airlines collect personal information for their ticket sales process. The big question is ‘who will be the first airline to accept sharing that data on a third party platform to allow a full journey-through personalized experience’. Thanks to both the cookies technology and their mobile app, airline get a strong understanding of their passengers. Blend it with data gathered during the flight and a strong Netflix-like recommendation engine, and you can feed a virtuous circle that produces an ever more personalized inflight experience.

The first inflight chatbots

The airline has embraced chatbot technology for the last two years, offering interactive communication with their passengers…on the ground. In the wake of the personalization quest, such technology will help passengers in rapidly adapting the onboard experience to their immediate need from finding the right content at the right moment to experiencing more customer-centric onboard shopping. Of course, the stake is to add to your IFE platform a connectivity-free chatbot

Content disruption

During the last two years, we have witnessed the explosion of Netflix, Amazon Prime and another video on demand platforms. The media industry, at least for the BtoC model, has definitely shifted to a consumption-based business model. What about the airlines? No doubt that by the end of the year, disruptive content service providers will eventually manage to negotiate with the majors, to drop down the usual “flat fee” to offer their airline customer a kind of pay-per-view business model.

Blockchain for the onboard payment

Last year we saw a couple of exiting statements unveiling the adoption of the blockchain technology. Among them, Singapore Airlines unveiled KrysPay, which it claims to be “the world’s first blockchain-based airline loyalty digital wallet”. Shall we see it bundled with the “Tap & Pay” technology developed by Panasonic and rolled out on Level Airlines? Beyond that, blockchain or not, one of the big expected improvement for this year is a dramatic change in the onboard payment user experience. As payment is the last possible touch point that could lead to a shopping abortion, a seamless payment experience like on-the-ground has become a no-brainer stake for the airlines.

Is your inflight content really adapted to your flight operations?

One size does not fit all

When it comes to inflight content, airlines spend thousands USD per month, up to millions per year, to delight their passengers with the best possible content during hours of flight.
Whilst it’s a no brainer to have a minimum portfolio of movies -but not only- for long haul flights, it becomes a nonsense to have such offering for flights under two hours, unless you can organize a (costly) streaming feature throughout the entire journey!

Suggested methodology

For short and medium haul flights, which represent 70% of the worldwide daily flights, you need to reconsider your inflight entertainment offering.

First step: define some routes segments. For example: flights under 2h00 and flights between 2 and 4 hours.

For the second step, request the help of your marketing team. They should be able to provide you with customers profiles per segment and period of the year. However, be careful, start simple! Avoid defining to many profiles/routes sub-segments.

The result of such analysis is a simple matrix:

Rows: route segments
Columns: route subsegments (e.g domestic, domestic<>Northern Europe,…)

According to the considered season (start with two), each cell of the matrix can be filled with passengers’ general information: x% business traveler, y% family, top 3 nationalities…

For each cell, adding the number of transported pax gives you the weight of importance in your content decision process.

Don’t forget the advertising component

When it comes to content consumption, you also need to consider the forecasted advertising revenues. If you expect to get significant advertising revenues out of your inflight platform, you need to ensure an average of 4 advertising exposure per flight per passenger.

Hence, how do you expect to monetize your inflight offering with 45-minute expensive TV programs on a 1H15mn flight?
In such case, you need to ensure that each “content” will be no longer than 15 to 20 mn.

Assuming your IFE software is able to display the right set of content according to the route and passenger profile, you are now ready to source the right content…at the right price! Don’t miss our next articles dedicated to a comprehensive overview of the inflight content offering, and organizing an effective and valuable passengers’ feedback.

The future of Inflight magazines

Written press has had its own revolution about 10 years ago with the apparition of the first smartphones. Editors are in constant evolution ever since to retain their readers and advertisers but also to find a viable and sustainable economic model. This change has, of course, also affected the world of consumers magazines, including the ones from airlines available on board of airplanes: the inflight magazines.

According to Mark Tjhung (Forbes 20/07/2017, “No, the inflight mag is not dead”), this number one communication channel for airlines that we all love to flip through when traveling, Inflight magazine is far from being dead. Mark is certainly right as the pleasure of reading a paper book or magazine is still very important for a number of passengers. However, the economic and environmental impacts (overconsumption of fuel, logistics costs…) lead airlines to rethink this media.

To better understand the importance of their reflexion, you need to know that the weight of onboard magazines per airplane varies from 80 to 200 kg depending on the number of pages and the number of passengers. On short- and mid-haul flights, this additional weight represents in average an extra consumption from 10 tonnes of kerosene per aircraft per year, and about the double for long-haul. As for the environmental impact, for each tonne of kerosene consumed, we count 3 tonnes of CO2 produced… Quite a challenge!

Airlines, who used to offer a large range of daily press, have yet decided to go digital by offering through their app the same newspapers they had in paper. The success of Adaptive Channel (lien vers adaptive), a major player in the digital press onboard, is a good proof for it.

The next step has just been taken thanks to PXCom (embedded technologies) and Adaptive Channel (online press system) getting together to offer a 100% interactive reading experience on seatbacks or on the new passenger experience systems based on embedded Wi-Fi servers. This innovation, unveiled during last APEX Expo Boston, allows airlines to reassure their advertisers and benefit from complementary revenues.

Indeed, like paper press, ad sales in inflight magazines are dropping, due to the complexity of targeting and engaging the chosen audience. Thanks to XPlore by PXCom, brands will be able to create targeted and measurable campaigns with original contents in order to offer an unforgettable digital experience to the passengers!

The limits of user generated content

The limits of user generated content

The temptation to use non-professional content (commonly referred to as “User-Generated Content”) from the most well-known review sites (TripAdvisor, Booking, OpenTable…) is extremely high for our clients: airlines, rail and bus companies… And what could be easier than opening an API and filling the passenger entertainment system with the opinions of thousands of users?

The Shed at Dulwich (London) case speaks volumes about the limits of these platforms. In a couple of months, this fake restaurant created by an independent journalist succeeded in becoming one of London’s top-rated restaurants!

Certainly, these platforms are useful, essential even, for a sort of quality control on what is in store for us.

But when passengers consult content on entertainment systems on planes, buses or trains, the company’s image is at stake. Of course, the company displays the source of this content, and will even spend a lot of money to use the brand of the platform in question. However, these have no added value, nor provide a service to their customers, since this information can be accessed by anyone with a smartphone or tablet.

It is essential, therefore, that this content comes from professionals in tourism, gastronomy, or other sectors… And that it is published or produced upon the company’s request.

Once at their destination, inspired passengers are entirely free to check these platforms, to see if the on-board favourite picks match their inclinations at the time.

To take things one step further, if transport companies wish to introduce a scoring system of recommendations that takes inspiration from this content, they can. With tools such as XPlore by PXCom, they can organise their own opinion community, starting a virtuous cycle of personalising recommendations to match the tastes and habits of their passengers as closely as possible.

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