In Flight Data Service Launched

FluentMedia, a content licensing agency of Tribune Co., is partnering with Verizon to offer airline passengers a new form of inflight media--premium news content from America's top newspapers and wire services they can access by plugging the cord from the phones on their seats into their lap top computers.

FluentMedia, a company formed this year by media giant Tribune, aggregates news and licenses it back to corporations for use on their Intranets and extranets. It will use the same information for the Verizon Airfone JetConnect inflight data service, according to general manager John Twohey.

The company will aggregate news from the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, USA TODAY, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, Baltimore Sun, Orlando Sentinel and other daily newspapers as well as The Associated Press and Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News wire services. All will receive royalties for the use of their data, Twohey says.

The news will be updated a few times a day and sent to Verizon airfones. Passengers will be charged $5.99 for unlimited use of the information for the duration of their flights and can pay by credit card. A spokeswoman for Verizon declined to say which airlines would be involved, saying they will make their own announcements.

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