The future of inflight magazines

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Written press had its revolution about 10 years ago with the arrival of the first smartphones. Editors have been in a stage of 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 consumer magazines, including airlines’ inflight magazines.

According to Mark Tjhung (Forbes 20/07/2017, ‘No, the inflight mag is not dead‘), the inflight magazine is the number one communication channel for airlines that we all love to flip through when traveling – it  is far from being dead. Tjhung 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 (fuel consumption, logistics costs, etc) are leading airlines to rethink this form of media.

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

Many airlines which used to offer a large range of daily printed newspapers, have decided to go digital by offering through the same titles via their app. The success of Adaptive Channel, a player in onboard digital press, is good proof of this.

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, which will be presented during APEX Expo 2018 in Boston from September 24th to 27th, will allow airlines to reassure their advertisers and benefit from complementary revenues.

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