Qantas is dropping Channel 9’s bespoke news bulletin from its in-flight service, replacing it with Sky News as part of a major revamp of its entertainment.
The change – a huge win for Sky – comes as the airline looks to expand its entertainment program as the 767 fleet is phased out in early 2015 and its A330s are refurbished and Qantas ends the era of ‘main screen’ TVs descending from the cabin roof in favour of personalised viewing.
Channel 9 was producing three bulletins a day for Qantas. Instead, the latest Sky News bulletin will be uploaded to the flight just before take off. It will not be broadcast live.
Foxtel and Fox Sports will also offer additional additional programming and as part of the deal, Sky News will provide its new international Australian news service live to overseas Qantas lounges.
Meanwhile, Qantas is pushing hard to match Virgin’s wifi streaming system for mobile devices such as iPads and smartphones.
Qantas corporate affairs group executive Olivia Wirth said technology is moving to people being able to stream content via a closed on-board Wi-Fi network.
“The feedback we get, particularly from our business customers, is how important inflight news bulletins are. For many, watching the news between Sydney and Melbourne is their chance to catch-up on what’s happening,” she said.
“We know that inflight entertainment is a key part of people’s journey. It’s something we invest heavily in and have a plan to keep improving over the next 12 months.”
From August, Qantas will increase the number of new-release movies and box-sets of popular TV series available. An additional 100 hours of content will feature on most Qantas flights, including 77 hours more movie content, 20 hours more TV and raise new Hollywood releases from six to ten per month.
The shift to Sky News is due on November 1.
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