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DO Takes To The Skies

Digital out-of-home video content and advertising is taking flight, literally, with new deals for ad sales representation and in-flight, ad-supported WiFi on two major airlines. Along with extensions of DO-enabled food service in airports, the new deals represent a trend towards DO linked with consumer services in the air travel environment.

In the most recent tie-up, United Airlines announced it has joined the in-flight TV network operated by Brand Connections, offering advertisers greater scale and efficiency in campaigns targeting air travelers in their seats -- one of the biggest "captive audiences" out there. With the United Airlines deal, Brand Connections is now the exclusive ad sales representative to roughly two-thirds of the domestic in-flight TV market, reaching over 100 million in-flight TV viewers per year. Brand Connections can integrate TV advertising with product sampling, literature placement, and event marketing reaching consumers via other travel and hospitality-related venues like airport lounges and hotels.

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Last week also brought new partnerships giving air travelers on Southwest and Alaska Airlines access to in-flight WiFi courtesy of JiWire, which provides consumers with free ad-supported Internet while offering advertisers video ads targeted by location and other contextual factors. JiWire hopes to expand the free in-flight Internet service, dubbed Row 44, to other airlines, citing strongly favorable consumer sentiment. A recent survey from the Wi-Fi Alliance revealed that 76% of business travelers would choose air travel arrangements based on the availability of WiFi service, while 70% would choose to have WiFi service instead of free meals.

The new trend in air travel DO integrates advertising with content that engage travelers with entertainment, Internet, and other services. Last year JetBlue installed interactive video screens at the gates of its new terminal at New York's JFK Airport, allowing travelers who don't want to leave the gate to order food for delivery from airport dining options. Overall, there are 200 such screens around Terminal 5, which sees traffic from about 50,000 people per day, with an average visit duration of 90 minutes.

The JetBlue digital network, called Re:vive, was designed by New York's Deepend for OTG Management, which runs the airport's food and beverage concessions. It was designed to be flexible in its presentation of content, creating more opportunities for advertisers to deliver messages, and thus incremental revenue. When no one is interacting with the digital displays in the Re:vive network, it features 30-second and 60-second video ad spots from a variety of ad categories, targeted by the time of day. In the interactive menu section, there are also spots for banner advertising.

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