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Watching Movies with your Head in the Clouds: Netflix on Planes


Netflix is paying long-ball with its latest strategic move to provide access to its online streaming service on passenger flights.

Millions of jet setters make their way around the globe on a daily basis and many crave the kind of entertainment that Netflix can provide.

There may already be an entertainment option for longer flights but Netflix termed the current streaming environment as low bandwidth, and unreliable.

If you think that being able to view your favourite show on your mobile device is impressive, imagine being able to access a vast selection of programming at 30-thousand feet at a nominal fee (if not free) in 2018.

On flights that have agreed deals with Netflix, with their next-gen Wi-Fi, such as Gogo's 2Ku and Ka-band internet access, travellers can watch streaming content from carry-on devices free of charge. Those without a Netflix account can take advantage of a free 30-day trial by signing up on-board. This is also an advantage for Netflix, as they view the partnerships as a step towards customer acquisition.
Airlines also benefit as they are able to build a lasting model around free or low-cost on-board wi-fi, claims Netflix. The on-demand providers also insists that by partnering with the company, it results in a brand-halo effect, building awareness of the airlines' investment in next-gen Wi-Fi and possibly improving customer satisfaction.

Netflix boasts a subscriber base of 103.9 million members in more than 190 countries. Those numbers are impressive for an online company that is less than 30 years old and which have only provided a worldwide service since 2016.
Its customer base, however, is still some way behind the 3.8 billion travellers who took to the air last year. If just a tiny fraction of them subscribe to Netflix, this would make for more entertaining travel, not just for the passengers, but the on-demand service providing the movies.


Entretenimiento a bordo de Air Canada by Miguel A. Tovar CC-BY-2.0

Beginning next year, the firm will build on its bandwidth technology for mobile devices to airline carriers around the world. The hope is that they will be able to form more joint ventures with airlines by providing them with free or low-cost Wi-Fi entertainment to travellers.

Entertainment and air travel are an ideal partnership, as passengers have a lot of time to kill while in flight. Online gaming could also be a potential new avenue for airlines to tap into, in the future. Websites such as slots.io would be an ideal partner, with their massive selection of new and classic casino games, such as Go Bananas, Quickspin, and One Touch. Not unlike Netflix's free trial model, slots.io offers a generous welcome offer for new players, along with regular promotions.

Netflix said that its mobile-encoding technology will enable passengers to watch high-quality streaming, while airline carriers will benefit from up to 75 per cent in bandwidth expenses.

In 2015, Netflix formed a partnership with Virgin America to provide free wi-fi to passengers travelling with select aircraft. Netflix has since signed a number of similar deals with Virgin Australia, Qantas, and Aeromexico.

Netflix revealed plans for the in-flight service at the 2017 APEX Expo.


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