When I first started my job at Spafax, the iPhone was only two years old and the iPad was still a year away. Nevertheless, the conventional wisdom was already in place that embedded in-flight entertainment systems were going to die, and that everyone would just enjoy content on their phone or laptop. Perhaps fearing for my own job security, I posted this headline on my bulletin board as a reminder of the challenges we would face in the content service space.
Five years later, the conventional wisdom is still the same, and the ability of passengers to use their own devices has increased dramatically. But we still see that well-chosen content can pull people away from their iPad/Galaxy Tab/HTC One/Thinkpad/Nexus/MacBook Air/Kindle Fire. Will it last forever? Of course not. But airlines that continue to view their role as content providers, rather than “screen” providers stand a much better chance of not losing their customers to their own devices in the next five years.