Anuvu: How Technology is Driving Rapid Evolution for Inflight Entertainment   

Anuvu: How Technology is Driving Rapid Evolution for Inflight Entertainment   

Pictured above: Anuvu earlier this year acquired exclusive worldwide inflight distribution rights (outside of mainland China) for Hong Kong’s award-winning film “Zero to Hero” in response to consumers’ broadening in-flight entertainment tastes.


DECEMBER 14, 2022 | Inflight Entertainment (IFE) is worlds away from the era of cabin projectors, dim movies and poor sound quality. Today’s IFE systems feature thousands of hours of high-resolution video, games and audio titles or products, displayed on individual, high-resolution screens in cabin environments that replicate the at home experience as much as possible.  

Estibaliz Asiain | Anuvu

These technology improvements over the past decade are accompanied by newer trends, including behind-the-scenes digitization of our industry’s delivery infrastructure, meaning airlines now have the ability to diversify where and who they get content from. Subsequently, this has enabled airlines to provide more diversity of content. 

Airlines’ content service providers must adapt rapidly and have multiple content suppliers throughout this emerging media space, not just relationships with five major Hollywood studios, to access the content that today’s travelers want. 

An Appetite for Non-Traditional Blockbusters 

We’ve seen a shift in passenger demand away from traditional inflight fare—Hollywood blockbusters, programmed music, TV sitcoms—toward native digital content from platforms like TikTok and shortform content from the likes of YouTube, Vice and Complex Networks. Social media such as TikTok and Instagram command huge inflight audiences when streamed to personal devices on Wi-Fi connected aircraft. 

Technology is clearly driving these new trends in demand, and, in turn, are requiring players in the IFE space to respond more quickly to license, load and process these new content types. 

A Digital Supply Chain Offers Multiple Benefits  

During the pandemic, with increased pressure to search for efficiencies and ensure consumer satisfaction, organizations prioritized the digitization of their workflows. Like other companies, we invested heavily in technology to complete our end-to-end fully digital supply chain, increasing the efficiency with which we deliver content to our airline customers. Unlike some companies that tout a digital supply chain— but where parts of the fulfillment operation revert to legacy processes or systems—industry leaders should embrace a fully digital path from content selection to the final post-cycle analysis, including touchless delivery to aircraft.    

The supply-chain revolution has yielded multiple benefits.  

1. Reduced Timelines 

For content providers, shortening the time it takes from receiving media assets to when a passenger views them on board allows for more timely and relevant content—a huge benefit for both the studio and the airline. We now deliver material to customers such as Southwest Airlines in less than 24 hours from receiving media assets to when a passenger views the content onboard.  

This advancement enables customers to break free of the airline industry’s traditional monthly content cycle, providing enormous benefits both for carriers and their passengers in terms of fresher, more diverse content. This also speaks to the proliferation of new content and the demands of consumers today. By increasing the speed at which passengers are able to view new content onboard, airlines are showcasing their commitment to keeping pace with changes in their passengers’ needs. 

2. Improved Quality Control 

With a fully digital supply chain, we have seen improved quality control on content output as the system avoids manual processing errors, boosting operational efficiency.  

3. Insightful Data That Drives Personalization 

With the IFE housed on a single digital platform, it’s easier to obtain data about the content, its fulfilment process and its consumption on board, helping airlines reap value for their content investment. This allows us to give our airline customers additional information about both how we’re performing for them on delivery and to present data showing how their passengers are interacting with the films, TV series, games, music, and other IFE content in which they’ve invested. 

In the future, as satellite bandwidth becomes more affordable to airlines due to new low-earth orbit (LEO) constellations, the merging of digitally managed content and broadband-connected aircraft will yield powerful benefits.  

Among them:  

  • The ability to refresh airline media content daily as aircraft equipped with satellite-based internet connectivity allows us to deliver touchless content, eliminating physical media loading 
  • Personalized content and advertising offerings on the seatback targeted to specific passengers; for example, the business traveler who flies the same route twice each month and her airline knows her preferences, from beverages to snacks to IFE  
  • Improved quality of on-board media with fast processing of HD, 4K and 8K video 

As an industry, we must consider how technology will affect content consumption in the cabin and throughout the airline experience. We must rapidly adapt our content offering, processes, and systems to deliver targeted passenger content, seamless and error-free delivery, and the cost-effectiveness our airline clients demand.  

Anuvu has the advantage of being the only content service provider with in-house aircraft connectivity and wireless IFE hardware expertise, coupled with a technology platform that’s led the industry in digital file acquisition, processing and delivery from studio to seatback. We’ve adapted our company to deliver both connected entertainment technologies and unique content for our client airlines. 

 Estibaliz Asiain is SVP Media & Content for Anuvu.
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