As passengers increasingly satisfy their day-to-day media requirements via mobiles or tablets, airlines and airports are set to enhance their services through digital download of newspapers, magazines and movies.

Every year, airlines load on to their aircraft more than 36,500 tons of newspapers and magazines as a service for passengers – that’s equivalent to the weight of 100 Airbus A380s.

There’s no certainty what proportion will be read. They’re costly to provide and costly to dispose of.

Now there may be an alternative. The latest SITA Passenger IT Trends Survey reports that if the world had 100 travelers, 65 would access entertainment services on their own device and 46 would watch a movie on-board using mobile devices.

If newspapers and magazines could be made available in digital form, downloadable onto a passenger’s smart device, then a lot of money could be saved – including the cost of fuel.

Ancillary revenues

SITA has introduced DigitalMedia as a response. It’s a self-service entertainment platform that can deliver any kind of content directly to a smart device, enhancing the passenger experience before, during and after the flight.

There are five possible touchpoints:

  • DigitalMedia On the Move
  • DigitalMedia Kiosk
  • DigitalMedia App
  • DigitalMedia Lounge
  • DigitalMedia Tablets (loaded with digital media content and offered to passengers during the flight)

Software, content and hardware are provided through a partnership with Adaptive Channel, a recognized digital content delivery provider to airlines and airports.

They offer more than 6,500 newspaper and magazine titles through a close relationship with content providers worldwide.

Airlines and airports

DigitalMedia provides a simple option for airlines wanting to change the way they deal with newspaper or magazine distribution, or perhaps driving an increase in the use of existing airline applications by adding media capability.

It also offers an alternative to seat-back systems by leveraging the growing trend for passengers to use their own devices to access content during the flight.

The product can also be used as an added incentive in the use of loyalty schemes and offers an alternative for passengers on flights where there is no in-flight entertainment option.

Downloading media in this way is not currently widely available at airports, not least because of constraints on available bandwidth within the airport infrastructure environment.

So DigitalMedia offers the opportunity for passengers to pay for content and download movies to their device pre-flight via a fast connection, possibly via an existing airport app – thereby adding further functionality to the app.

Content can also be streamed to passengers’ personal devices as they await their flight, or in transit areas.

Swiss experience

SITA, SWISS and Geneva Airport ran a proof-of-concept of DigitalMedia On the Move in the departure halls and lounges and on board SWISS flights from the airport within Europe.

The ’SWISS e-media’ service, offered exclusively to SWISS customers, provided almost instant access so that travelers could read the daily paper, browse a magazine, view videos or play games, and then download content directly to their smartphone or tablet device to enjoy during their flight.

“Having access to a range of media that they can continue to enjoy at the gate and inflight on their mobile device meets a genuine need for customers who are used to having such facilities in the rest of their lives, and now offers them the same pleasant convenience at the airport and aloft,” commented SWISS Marketing Distribution Manager Arnaud Delaloye.

Geneva’s airport authority was equally committed to the project. “These new facilities are a wonderful addition to the shopping, restaurants and other amenities we already have in our terminal and departure halls,” confirmed Head of Marketing & Business Development Yves-Daniel Viredaz.

“They also provide a logical link between the waiting time on the ground and the flight itself.”

Learn more about DigitalMedia