Opinion: Entertainment is an Easy Value-Add, Especially Post-COVID-19

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Having spent 25 years in content sales and distribution with Southern Star, Endemol and Endemol Shine, and now with Flame Distribution, Kirsten Cargill knows content and content distribution. Flame specializes in the distribution of factual entertainment and has a global customer base.

As airlines and transport operators recover from COVID-19, entertainment offers an easy value-add for their customers. With so much quality content available, now is the time to consider how to use it to bring passengers back onboard.

Kirsten Cargill, VP Content Sales, Flame Distribution

How does Flame Distribution judge what is “quality content” – what criteria do you look for in your factual entertainment?

There’s a lot variety in factual content, which enables us to have a diverse range of content in our catalogue. Like most distributors, we look for content that will compliment and enhance our existing range of programming. We’re always looking at what trends are emerging, what buyers are asking for and how we can help them meet their requirements. We already work with some very talented producers, so we know content they produce will be in demand.

Are there certain shows that are most popular among your airline clients? Can you give some examples?

Flame’s biographies are always popular with our airline and transport clients. We have a large catalogue of these titles, but evergreen personalities such as The Beatles, Elvis and Mick Jagger have been picked up widely because they’re familiar to a large cross-section of society, and people always want an insight into the lives of the rich and famous. In that vein, we have also had a lot of success with Billionaire Wonderland, which sees Sherlock star Yasmine Akram visit the different playgrounds of the super-rich, from the Hamptons to the Cote d’Azur. Informative content such as Dino Trails and Curious Mind have proven to be very popular too.

Do you think COVID-19 has impacted what kind of content airlines are looking for/passengers want to watch? If so, how?

In general, the viewing public are gravitating towards lighter content that has a positive outlook. COVID-19 has impacted everyone in some way, no-one has been left unaffected, but people have been looking for the positives and that extends to what people are watching. Viewers are looking for content that makes them happy, whether that’s escapism to exotic places, connecting with nature through natural history documentaries or catching up on the life and times of their favorite performers – all choices that enhance their view of the world.

You said that entertainment content is an easy value-add for airlines. What can airlines gain from offering quality content?

Having traveled extensively myself, I know from experience that having a wide variety of content to view can make a big difference to customers’ overall experience. When you’re in your seat for five hours, 10 hours or 24 hours, having something new and entertaining to watch makes all the difference. And a positive experience with an airline can result in a returning customer!

How does Flame work together with its clients to decide what content is most appropriate for its audience? What’s that process like?

We provide our clients with regular updates on our new content and work directly with clients to identify content that suits their needs. Airlines or in-flight content providers will reach out if they are looking for specific content and Flame is always happy to go through its catalogue with their requests in mind. It’s an easy process as we’ve fostered great relationships with airlines and content providers over many years, and we have a broad catalog that really does have something for everyone.

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