BBC Global News Study Suggests Travelers Willing to Pay More for Live TV

Image: Vance Walstra

BBC’s commercial, international news arm, BBC Global News, announced the results of new research into the global appetite for in-flight connectivity and Live TV on Monday, and the results offered a revealing look into the mindset of today’s über-connected passenger base.

The study, called Slipstream, was commissioned by BBC Global News and conducted by independent research consultancy MTM. The findings show that almost two-thirds (63 percent) of regular travelers consider access to Wi-Fi in flight important when booking, with 69 percent saying it would significantly improve their in-flight experience. Over half of those surveyed said they’d happily pay five percent on top of their standard fare for Live TV in flight, with a third prepared to pay an additional 20 percent, which was surprising to even BBC Global News’ longtime head of Insight, Hamish McPharlin.

“There was as much, if not more, desire for live TV … as there was for Wi-Fi”– Hamish McPharlin, BBC Global News.

“The two things that really surprised me were, that it wasn’t all about Wi-Fi. There was as much, if not more, desire for live TV – news, sports and live events – as well as expectations of connectivity powering the seatback system, as there was for Wi-Fi,” McPharlin said. “And secondly, that paying for connectivity on board is not the way to do it. Customers want to pay at the time of ticket purchase.”

The study also found that access to connectivity actually changes passengers’ perception on an overall airline brand. “We found that there is a brand benefit to connectivity, with upticks in it being seen as ‘innovative,’ ‘modern’ and ‘premium,’ and a reduction in associations with ‘basic’ and ‘traditional,’” added McPharlin. According to Slipstream, the specific TV and news brands a carrier opted for also had a huge impact on consumer perception, with almost half of respondents saying they would be more likely to travel with an airline offering BBC World News.