What’s The Future For In-Flight Magazines?
The future of air travel is changing – and so is the in-flight magazine. As most print editions are currently grounded due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will they ever take off again? And if so, what might they look like?
Compared with their newsstand equivalents, in-flight magazines have been relatively unchallenged by the rise of digital due to their very healthy marketing ROI.
They have an almost captive audience of plane passengers – a Harris poll found that 89% of passengers will check out the in-flight magazine, perhaps to while away the journey in the absence of WiFi.
Magazines are used to advertise on-board goods such as snacks or duty-free perfume, and to cross-promote airlines’ own services. And they’re highly attractive to advertisers seeking an affluent market for travel or luxury goods.
All of which kept this segment aloft while other print titles crashed. British Airways’ High Life magazine, for example, had a potential monthly audience of 3.8 million, with 60% of readers spending 20+ minutes perusing its pages. For advertisers, that represented a great opportunity for a reliable marketing ROI.
Although the risk of transmitting COVID-19 indirectly via paper or cardboard is thought to be tiny, passengers are reluctant to handle well-thumbed magazines.
So most airlines have removed in-flight magazines for the time being, and in many cases replaced them with digital alternatives. British Airways is widening its offering, inviting all passengers to access 7,000 global titles through the PressReader service.