[Avionics Today 11-24-2015] According to a new Valour Consultancy report, the number of aircraft equipped with solutions that enable wireless delivery of In-Flight Entertainment (IFE) content will exceed 4,000 by the end of this year, and hit 17,000 by 2024. Craig Foster, Valour Consultancy's senior consultant and author of the new report, says solutions that deliver Wireless IFE (W-IFE) are becoming poplar because it is a "relatively simple process to add content streaming to existing In-Flight Connectivity (IFC) networks." However, it is on aircraft that might not otherwise have installed IFE where the real potential lies.
A passenger using wireless in-flight entertainment. Photo: Global Eagle Entertainment.
“The single-aisle market is a huge untapped opportunity. With many of these aircraft rolling off production lines without any form of IFE on board, it is a market ripe for lightweight, inexpensive and easy-to-install solutions that have the added potential benefit of being able to generate ancillary revenues," said Foster.
Currently, ancillary revenues related to W-IFE are low. But Foster believes there is plenty of reason to believe W-IFE can be turned into a profit center. “Airlines have a known demographic with high levels of disposable income captive for several hours at a time and this alone is attractive to advertisers. When you employ analytical tools, it is possible to segment passengers, show content and ads tailored to their preferences and ensure they are offered products most relevant to them.”
The report also reveals that the emergence of portable solutions from the likes of Media inMotion, AirFi and Lufthansa Systems that do not require an STC are driving interest in W-IFE across the market. Wide-body operators are keen to deploy W-IFE too, but mostly to complement embedded systems and not, as many predict, to replace them. “Second screening is a going to become as big a trend in the air as it is on the ground and carriers are only too aware of this,” Foster concluded.