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Sports continue to drive live TV in commercial aviation

The latest blog from Valour Consultancy’s Joshua Flood suggests that sports programming continues to drive the uptake of live TV in commercial aviation.   

Valour Consultancy estimates that the live sports segment of the in-flight entertainment (IFE) content market was worth US$115 million globally in 2017, and that the demand for sports programming in-flight is destined to continue to attract viewers and increased revenues from airlines.

This is borne out by the recent news that IMG, the IOC’s international in-flight rights holder, would be licensing and airing 250 hours of live coverage for the current Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang and the Olympic Games Tokyo in 2020. The coverage will be available on 12 airlines, including American Airlines (international flights only), Lufthansa, Qatar, Turkish Airlines and WestJet. The airlines will have access to 200 hours of Olympic Games action via IMG’s Sport 24 channel, and an extra 50 hours of coverage on the firm’s latest new channel, Sport 24 Extra.

The global market for sports programming is expected to be the biggest revenue generator for live TV in the commercial aviation market, and will reach an annual value of nearly $350million by the end of 2026.

It is believed the Winter Olympics coverage from PyeongChang, South Korea, will be shown on more than 700 aircraft, compared to 495 aircraft for the Rio Olympic Games in 2016. This service is supported by Panasonic’s eXTV television service, which first started working with IMG in 2012. In September 2015, Panasonic Avionics and IMG announced that they would be extending their partnership by another five years. The eXTV solution consists of a range of programming including live content from Al Jazeera, BBC World News, CNBC, CNN International, EuroNews, NHK World Premium and Sky News Arabia.

Global Eagle and Gogo are two other companies offering live TV services to airlines.

Valour Consultancy’s latest report, ‘The Future of In-Flight Entertainment Content’ was published in December 2017. The study presents an independent perspective of airline spending on traditional IFE content, and other notable segments, such as moving maps and live TV, as well as ancillary revenue generation from IFE services. The study breaks out airline spend per segment, the average revenue per order, and the number of orders by content segment, region and aircraft type.

For further information on market intelligence offered by HMG Aerospace in partnership with Valour Consultancy, please click here.

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