APEX in Profile: Amanda Walsh

Image: Salva Mendez

Amanda Walsh
Director of Partnerships
Stellar Entertainment

Amanda has 20 years of experience with both the BBC and ABC, as well as a BAFTA nomination for technical innovation in interactive entertainment. Her understanding of media and entertainment strategy has proven useful in ensuring that airline customers not only have the best products, but are also prepared with innovative solutions for the future.

Fast Facts:
Location: SYD
Now watching: Story of Yanxi Palace
Seatback or PED? Seatback
Passport stamp you wish you had: Lebanon
The future of flight will be: Galactic

Did you choose the airline industry or did it choose you?
Stellar Entertainment was my first job after university, where I studied a very different path (marine biology), so I guess it chose me! I left Stellar to pursue a career in broadcast TV, radio and news. Twenty years later, I’m back. This time around, I definitely chose the industry. Coming from an environment where content strategy is a mix of creativity, data and branding, I see the potential for a huge shift in IFE and I’m excited to be playing a part in that.

What do you think is the most overlooked aspect of the passenger experience?
The potential of IFE seatback screens. Having control of a screen that sits at eye level in front of a captive audience is unheard of in any other environment.

I don’t think the airline industry has even begun to realize the possibilities to not only learn more about their passengers for ancillary revenue and repeat business opportunities, but also provide an in-flight experience tailored to the individual. And in the case of sovereign airlines, really showcase cultural content, whereby the flight itself becomes part of the tourist experience.

“I hope decision-makers see and understand the possibilities (and opportunities lost) before handing over the supply of their IFE content to over-the-top media providers for short-term commercial gains.”

As airlines add connectivity to their fleet, I hope decision-makers see and understand the possibilities (and opportunities lost) before handing over the supply of their IFE content to over-the-top media providers for short-term commercial gains.

Stellar recently premiered some original content. Is this something it plans to do more of?
We were very proud to showcase our original video project Do You Remember? at APEX EXPO 2018 in Boston. We have since created an original comedy podcast series, Terry and Dev, and have a number of other original video and audio projects in development. Audiences have come to expect quality, and original content on their entertainment platforms and IFE is no exception.

What are the unique demands involved in working in the Asian market?
The reality is that each country has its own unique sense of nation and culture. Each national airline plays the dual role of providing a passenger experience that is familiar to domestic customers, while acting as ambassadors, showcasing their country’s values, traditions and assets to foreigners in an increasingly competitive environment. Since its inception, Stellar has made Asia Pacific its focus, and the large majority of our staff are made up of local teams that understand these cultures, speak the languages and call these countries home, so we do not face the same challenges other companies do when trying to cater to diverse demographics.

What’s the best advice you have ever received?
“Back yourself and play the long game, kiddo,” was the advice given to me early in my career by one of Australia’s top executives, who remains a mentor today. It’s about not acting on hearsay or following the latest trend, and instead educating yourself, understanding your objectives, looking at the facts, listening to a wide variety of voices and then making informed decisions.

APEX in Profile: Amanda Walsh was originally published in the 9.3 June/July issue of APEX Experience magazine