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.

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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.