• Marks live debut of Spafax’s ICON family of digital products

Frankfurt, Germany | March 3, 2016– The Lufthansa Group, along with global content and media agency Spafax have launched an innovative new entertainment personalization platform. Using technology developed by Spafax, http://lh.com/mediaworld-en will provide Lufthansa passengers with a wealth of information about the programming on upcoming flights via a highly interactive experience.

The new site features a full listing of all movies, television programs, music and games onboard, and the site’s design allows for easy navigation of content, equal to what passengers would find on leading entertainment portals. Visitors can view trailers of films, as well as access an electronic program guide to learn which sporting events will be available via Lufthansa’s live television feed Sport24 (on all Intercontinental flights). Dedicated feature articles provide background on Lufthansa’s unique approach to entertainment, and children’s content is given a special focus for those passengers traveling with their families.

“Last year we successfully completed an extensive upgrade in cabin interior, inflight entertainment and connectivity on all of our long haul aircraft. Today we are excited to take our web based entertainment platform to the next level, too,” noted Dr. Alexander Feuersänger, Director, Product Management Cabin Interior and Inflight Entertainment. “And this launch only marks the beginning: interesting features will be added over time for our guests to have an even more personalized entertainment experience.”

Spafax CEO, Niall McBain added, “We are always trying to help our clients use both content and technology to improve their customer experience. The launch of Lufthansa’s new entertainment platform using our digital expertise is a natural extension of their industry-leading onboard product.”

Future releases of the site will feature additional exciting features, including the ability to personalize content recommendations based on passenger preferences. The site is based on Spafax’s PROFILE platform, part of the company’s ICON family of digital products, designed to help airline clients take full advantage of new personal technology to provide an immersive entertainment experience that is not limited by the need for new hardware.

California | January 14, 2016– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc., (Nasdaq: ENT) announced a multi-year renewal of its strategic content services agreement with JAL Brand Communications, LTD (JBC), a JAL subsidiary managing Japan Airlines (JAL) IFE operations.

As part of the agreement, GEE will provide a full range of content services, including movies and TV, on international and domestic JAL flights. As one of Japan’s largest airlines, JAL has relied on GEE for much of its inflight entertainment (IFE) content for over a decade.

“GEE is a leading content service provider to the global airline industry, and a proven source of content packaging, delivery and expertise at the foundation of our inflight entertainment program,” said Yasuhiro Fujita, president, JAL Brand Communications Co. Ltd., the IFE operations subsidiary for JAL. “This agreement between JBC and GEE represents a long-term partnership that is fully capable of enabling us to meet the evolving inflight entertainment demands of JAL passengers for years to come.”

“GEE is honored to have earned JBC’s longstanding trust and business in support of the content delivery at the core of JAL’s inflight entertainment offering,” noted Amir Samnani, senior vice president of content services for GEE. “We look forward to providing the tailored content solutions that JAL passengers increasingly expect as they travel throughout Asia and around the world.”

Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain | December 7, 2015– Gulf Air, the national carrier of the Kingdom of Bahrain, is bringing the airline’s passengers a new entertainment experience, as it becomes the first airline in the Middle East to launch BBC Worldwide’s three newest genre brands onboard: BBC Brit, BBC Earth and BBC First.

BBC Brit is the home of Top Gear and so much more – blending expertise with entertainment, BBC Brit covers a rich variety of subjects: cars, adventure, life-changing moments, quirky British characters, chat show and comedy. Nature lovers can now enjoy watching BBC Earth onboard their Gulf Air flight – a channel dedicated to sharing the incredible wonders of our planet, showcasing the work of the world’s foremost factual film makers. Fans of British drama now have BBC First – the home of the very best original, innovative and compelling dramas.

Zina Neophytou, Director – Travel & Special Markets, BBC Worldwide said: “BBC Brit, Earth and First offer customers the very best of British entertainment, documentary and drama and we are thrilled that Gulf Air passengers will be the first in the region to be able to enjoy all three channels in-flight.”

Gulf Air A/Chief Commercial Officer Mr. Ahmed Janahi said: “We are delighted to partner with BBC Worldwide to share their premium new channels with our passengers, giving them a greater selection of programs. I don’t doubt that our enhanced onboard entertainment will please travellers and I look forward to receiving their invaluable feedback.”

Gulf Air’s entire fleet is equipped with the latest in-flight entertainment technology offering hundreds of channels of entertainment that include religious programs, movies, TV shows, a channel dedicated to local Bahraini productions and an instructional and informative health channel in addition to a variety of games for the airline’s younger passengers.

  • Wireless Entertainment Platform for Private and Business Jets

Alpharetta, Georgia | November 16, 2015– Flight Display Systems, a leader in In flight Entertainment and Cabin Management Systems is thrilled to announce the do CAPSULE™. The do CAPSULE is the core of the do EXPERIENCE™, a full spectrum of In-flight Entertainment options including DRM compliant movies, music, photos, business productivity, moving map, and more. Connected to a Wi-Fi router, the do CAPSULE streams content to VIP passengers in-flight. The do CAPSULE has PMA and is ready to ship in early December.

Because content is stored on the do CAPSULE (mounted within the aircraft and attached to a Wi-Fi router), an internet connection is not necessary, making this a robust, reliable, and cost-effective way to serve entertainment wirelessly. Content is stored on two 1TB removable solid-state drives. The first drive is included and can be loaded with personal content. An optional second drive can be added to accommodate a brand new content subscription service, with fully licensed content delivered to your door.

Users can stream to tablets, laptops, and smart phones – any device with iOS, Android, or Windows operating systems. As many as eight passengers can each enjoy discrete streaming content, including video, audio, images, and productivity files. In addition, the Worldwide Moving Map and video content can be played back to a bulkhead monitor.

The user experience is further optimized with the Media Organizer software. Using a Windows computer, the Media Organizer aggregates video and audio files from a user’s personal library. Media Organizer attaches meta data to video and music files before transferring the files to the 1TB removable solid-state drive. Passengers have the convenience of searching for content based on title, description, running time, ratings, and reviews.

The do CAPSULE also has the ability to interface with Smart Cabin, FDS’ Cabin Management System, enabling users to control cabin amenities, video, audio, and other features through the wireless interface for convenience and redundant operation.

  • To Provide Full Complement of Connectivity Systems, Content Services, Operations Solutions and Digital Media Solutions

Los Angeles, CA | November 17, 2015– Global Eagle Entertainment Inc., (Nasdaq:ENT) (“GEE”) a worldwide provider of aircraft connectivity systems, operations solutions and media content to the travel industry, today announced it has entered the business aviation market with plans to offer a full suite of services beginning mid-year 2016.

Leveraging its breadth of inflight entertainment and connectivity (IFEC) offerings and expertise across the commercial airline industry and utilizing key partners in the business aviation industry, GEE will tailor a full range of solutions to provide an enhanced travel experience for business jet passengers and pilots around the world.

Business jet operators will be able to offer streaming-capable high-speed Internet access and data services, including VoIP and IPTV, using GEE’s next generation connectivity platform powered by partner SES’ global Ku and Ku-HTS satellites.

As a global leader in inflight entertainment content delivery, GEE will deliver a total journey experience; including Content provision of movies, TV shows, live television, and games; as well as Digital Media Solutions ranging from content and travel enhancement offerings at FBOs to onboard flight tracking and destination services.

With GEE’s recent acquisition of Masflight and Navaero, GEE’s business aviation solutions will include connected operational data services as well as EFB integration to streamline day-to-day flight and maintenance operations, further enhancing operational efficiencies.

“Global Eagle Entertainment has heard loud and clear the needs and demands of the business aviation market. We know the market is hungry for an enhanced level of global inflight entertainment and connectivity solutions that deliver on the requirements of business jet passengers today and into the future,” said Dave Davis, GEE CEO.

“We are entering the business jet market with plans to provide a full complement of our proven IFEC solutions,” Davis noted. “We are leveraging our expertise in delivering our IFE portfolio to over 200 airlines, and our connectivity solution to nearly 700 aircraft, worldwide. Utilizing this rich global commercial airline experience, GEE will help the business aviation industry elevate all aspects of the passenger experience and operational efficiencies aboard a business jet.”

The costs of content utilization in IFE are one of the airline burdens that will continue to make inflight entertainment solutions less competitive and will, no doubt, help the introduction other modes of entertainment. We, of course, are speaking of Wi-Fi, carry-on entertainment devices, and who-knows-what next year. Content must be encoded and integrated before it can be used on most IFE systems, especially those server-based. We will get to the cost of content itself in a minute, but airlines must also consider integrating the movies, games and other features into their operating systems and applications and these costs can be onerous as system complication grows. Once the content is encoded it must be integrated into a software bundle compatible with the specifications of the chosen platform . The specific details of each content unit must be verified and the level of detail varies by platform but it is a big job. There are easily hundreds items to checked off to ensure successful data loading .The costs, prices and criteria vary widely from system to system and supplier to supplier, but looking at the integration work statement one wonders why airlines get nervous about a few hundred dollars for encoding when integration and loading can run in the thousands!

Content costs are also under fire. For more than two decades the basic guideline pricing in IFE has been $75 per flight in singular language, $80 per flight in multiple languages. It is known that discounting is common among airlines with large flight counts. Combinations of high flight counts and economic conditions after 911, SARS, and the convergence of many negative factors eight or so years ago, saw deep discounting that never fully recovered. Today’s economic conditions also drive price pressures downward. The industry is migrating away from Overhead systems into AVOD systems and that that utilizes greater numbers of films, but it is far more complex in the passenger control and content delivery hardware/software (see Integration above). As a result, the volume of bookings increases, but price points for them decrease. Rather than $80 a flight on the OVHD system, AVOD may drop below 25% of that of that value. If Content Providers get 4 times the bookings at 25% of the price, revenues stay even. But after 911, and again after last year’s economic meltdown, it is believed that Content Providers actually saw decreased revenues along with diminished price points. While revenues tend to recover when bad times pass, price points tend not to, according to content experts and thus there is pressure to find ways to get back lost revenue.

Another potential impact of today’s economic conditions is the newest airline trend – charging for things they’ve never charged for in the past. In Economy, if you pay for your bag, and you pay for your Coke, and maybe even pay for your blanket (forget the pillow), isn’t it logical that you would pay for your movie? How about Pay Per View? We have heard that Content Providers aren’t too keen on PPV VOD because of the potential variations in revenue. Perhaps the days of charging the same price for a small movie as a big one is leaving IFE, and perhaps, PPV will become the business model of the future–in Economy of course.

The price of your ticket used to include movie entertainment but as airlines see upward spiraling costs of hardware, content encoding, integration and rental, the future is murky. Interestingly, competitive pressure encouraged by many international carriers still offering free movies and games will force many airlines to consider paradigm shifts (like the Internet) to remain competitive. All other things being equal, amenities could be a tie breaker

Don’t forget the WAEA Conference – See www.waea.org for details