Future of Newspapers and Magazines in Flight
An Industry Survey and Trends Report
Every industry in the world has been impacted by the massive technological and social changes that have occurred over the past decade. Music, travel, hospitality, publishing…they’re all, in their own way, being rewritten from the ground up as a result.
In the case of airlines, technology has transformed them from a service that transports travellers from point A to point B, into one that can create an inviting and entertaining travel experience, tailored to meet the needs and wants of each passenger.
To address one aspect of the on-board experience (access to newspapers and magazines), PressReader partnered with APEX to survey its members to gain insights into their plans. Respondents from premium carriers (one to three million flights per year) through to budget fare classes (less than 100,000 flights) participated in the study. Here are some of the highlights…
Opportunity is knocking
If ever there was a time for the airline industry to aggressively innovate for a more profitable future, it is now. Every day, new opportunities are opening up to grow loyalty with connected consumers by offering a superior customer experience along every touchpoint in the carrierpassenger value chain.
Most airlines have already instituted loyalty programs because the potential assets gained can’t be ignored. And although loyalty program success requires a large membership base, what’s more important is the retention and longevity of its members because:
• It is 5-10 times less expensive to retain a customer than to gain a new one;
• Loyal consumers buy 90% more often, spend 60% more per purchase, deliver three times the value annually and are five times more likely to choose the brand in the future;
• Satisfied customers will share their positive brand experience with nine others, while unhappy consumers will share their displeasure with 22;
• A 5% increase in customer retention can increase profits by 25-95%.
Retaining loyalty in the travel industry is a constant battle in what is no longer a “lowest price wins” war.
According to Collison Group, airline frequent flyer memberships have been on the decline for years. In 2015, Forrester reported that airlines had the lowest level of loyalty of all the major industries. Today, 53% of travelers do not have a frequent flyer membership — 9% fewer than in 2017.
In today’s Experiential Economy, travelers value more than points that take them from point A to point B. They want value to extend throughout their journey, not just at booking. In this regard, airlines have an enviable and unique advantage of having an immersive and up-close-and-personal connection with customers that can last for hours. Very few other industries have that long and uninterrupted opportunity to woo their clients. Airlines need to better capitalize on that by living and breathing a passenger-first culture throughout the entire cradle to grave value chain to maximize retention, especially in the air.
Serving the connected consumer on board
In this digitally dependent era, customers expect to be connected at all times and their expectations are growing. According to Zenith’s 2018 Media Consumption Forecast report, people on average, will spend 479 minutes a day consuming media in 2018. In North America that time increases by 33%.
It’s no wonder the demand for Wi-Fi and connectivity is increasing everywhere, whether it’s for email, browsing the internet, accessing social media, streaming music, or downloading media (e.g. magazines, newspapers, and movies).
In 2017, Inmarsat reported that”
• 60% of passengers believe on-board Wi-Fi is a necessity, not a luxury
• 61% consider it more important than IFE
• 40% rank it as a top three driver of airline choice
• When it comes to loyalty, 44% say they would stop using their preferred airline if its Wi-Fi was of poor quality
According to SITA’s 2017 IT Trends Survey, approximately 1/3 of airlines today operate connected aircrafts, with 66% expecting to do so within the next three years. 45% of respondents believe improving the passenger experience is the primary benefit.
So how can an airline offer paid services that maximize the potential of retaining an airline’s most valuable customers without breaking the bank? Read on…
On-board connectivity on personal devices
In 2013, The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in conjunction with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) relaxed the usage rules for personal entertainment devices, driving demand for “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) services by passengers. Of the 9,000 passengers surveyed by SITA, 46% of those who watched a movie on their most recent flight did so on their personal device. 65% said they would like to access IFE on their own devices in the future.
By January 2018, ~90 airlines had either already installed, or planned to install, in-flight connectivity solutions to address the increasing demand for BYOD and access to more mobile services.
This shift to BYOD has resulted in a declining interest in traditional seatback IFE systems which add both weight and cost to an aircraft. A number of carriers are already beginning to remove them from some of their fleets.
Meanwhile they are investing more in mobile services which are in high demand by today’s tech-savvy travellers.
Current news consumption trends
According to Reuter’s 2017 Digital News Report, the most popular source of news is digital, regardless of age.
And while video is gaining interest on social media, 78% of people still prefer reading news in written form.
Mainstream media brands that have a strong news legacy (e.g. The Washington Post, Forbes, The Globe and Mail, Le Monde, Newsweek, Bloomberg Businessweek and The Guardian, just to name a few) are the main choice for hard core news. Digital-native brands (like BuzzFeed) are mostly used as secondary sources for softer news subjects.
The rapid growth in mobile and BYOD offers huge opportunities for media, readers, and businesses who provide access to premium news to customers. In 2017, 85% of US adults read news on a mobile device, up from 72% in 2016. And what’s interesting is that the growth was driven by older adults.
What does all this mean for in-flight media?
The digital revolution has fueled massive changes across businesses, governments and society — changes that have inverted the traditional power funnel that existed between businesses and consumers throughout most of history.
We are living in a new connected economy where consumers hold the power and wield it like a sword, ready to hack institutions off their favorites list in a mobile minute if they don’t give them what they want.
Airlines are not immune from this phenomenon and must continually innovate to ensure they stay relevant for the rapidly-evolving generations of flyers.
In the newspaper and magazine world, that means rethinking how content is sourced and distributed to travelers, most of whom aren’t willing to pay for it.
The traditional approach to serving up printed media was to offer a few newspapers at the gate, a handful of magazines and newspapers in the lounge and a small collection of publications on board for premium cabins.
But with today’s discerning readers who want access to multiple sources of media it goes without saying, that the limited printed publication approach doesn’t cut it anymore. Not only does it not serve the needs of today’s news-hungry connected consumers, it’s adding unnecessary fuel costs with every flight.
Airline executives haven’t quite figured out how to thrive in this new economy yet, but many are making some headway with a focus on experience and the connected consumer’s values and needs.
For example, PressReader is working with airlines like Cathay Pacific, Air Canada, Virgin Australia and others on a number of innovative initiatives designed to:
• Use premium content to drive positive brand experiences across numerous customer touchpoints
• Integrate quality content into their marketing pipelines, including lounges, social media, email, advertising, loyalty programs, and cross-promotional partnership with publishers
• Deliver higher levels of personalization based on who customers are, where they live, where they travel and their media interests
Imagine the savings if narrow body aircraft were added to the equation!
If you are interested in learning more about how to use premium news content as an immersive marketing tool to amplify your brand with passengers, let’s talk!
• 50% said that digital access to local and international newspapers on a passenger’s own device is hugely beneficial; 55% said the same thing about magazines• Personal device access was valued much higher than access through seatback In-flight Entertainment (IFE)
• 76.9% of airlines with less than 500,000 annual flights have already, or plan to stop offering print within 5 years• 83.3% of airlines with less than 100,000 annual flights have already, or plan to stop offering print within 3-5 years
• 50% of respondents also believed that passengers would find digital access to the airline’s magazine beneficial.