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The Airline Passenger Experience Association boasts an envious group of cutting-edge companies ranging from OEMs to Hollywood’s head honchos. During the APEX EXPO, we caught up with Philipp Jacke, managing director, Media Carrier, to give you a glimpse behind the suits, ties and formalities and delve into the nuances of the company’s story.

How is the hotel market different from the airline market?

As far as our product is concerned, it is difficult to compare the two sectors because the technical requirements are so different. Hotels worldwide have a practically uniform Wi-Fi basis. The installation of Media Box in the hotel industry is simple as a result. With airlines, by contrast, the desired implementation and the site are both varied, and the installation is therefore more complex. There is IFE with/without connectivity, lounges, pre-flight and other implementations. On the other hand, airlines have much more intensive interaction with their customers: not only through the booking confirmation but also through pre-flight newsletters, web check-in or in the lounges. This means that they have more points of contact before the flight and can offer digital media as a service at different times, allowing the passenger the choice of consuming immediately or just during the flight.

Do you notice any difference in terms of regional preferences, expectations? For example, are travellers in Asia more interested in magazine content, etc?

Our Media Box is tailored precisely to the needs and demands of the individual customers. The portfolios of the individual Media Boxes are very varied, depending on the region and also the implementation. A Media Box for a holiday airline for example, is different from one for a business route, in terms both of provision and of course use by the passengers. Thanks to the almost unlimited customization potential, we can meet our customers’ needs in their entirety and offer passengers rapid and uncomplicated access to their desired reading without prior installation of an app.

Do you have any plans to offer access to your content offline? Why or why not?

Our digital newspapers and magazines have long been available offline. Users can simply download the desired reading to their devices. Once the newspaper or magazine is on their tablet, laptop or mobile, they can read them any time offline. We offer full original e-paper issues, achieving a hitherto unsurpassed level of use and content quality.

Is there any news you’d like us to share with delegates?

I can’t give too much away, but at the moment we are developing and will soon be offering Media Box as a central information tool for passengers of a well-known airline. This innovative platform, which offers the airline a new way of presenting itself to its passengers, will go live this year.

You probably travel a lot and have become used to it, but is there something about flying that never ceases to amaze you?

It’s true that I fly twice or three times a week on short and long-haul flights. I am still fascinated by the particular atmosphere at airports and the very different people encountered there. Outsiders are not aware of the incredible underlying logistical and organizational demands and don’t give a thought to what is required to run an airport or an airline – from the aircraft themselves to the on-board catering, not to mention the arrival of baggage at the right destination, even after two or more transfers. I never cease to be amazed by the way this all functions so fantastically.

Media Box offers 450 international newspapers and magazines to over 700 installations in 30 countries, in hotel rooms, airport lounges and in flight.

Katie is a contributing editor for APEX Media, based in Paris, France.