Against the backdrop of airlines publicly calling on governments for state aid, and the subsequent growing public backlash against this proposal, Faye Malarkey Black, President and CEO of the Regional Airline Association, has urged Congress to consider that the airline industry is not a monolith.
She rightly points out that the direct impact of this worldwide COVID-19 crisis is felt by all airlines but also has a detrimental effect further downstream on suppliers and third parties.
One area is the sporting world whose schedules have been decimated by the outbreak. All major sporting events have been postponed or cancelled, with Euro 2020 pushed back until next year, and ongoing uncertainty and confusion over this year’s summer Olympics and Paralympics.
For Sport 24, which holds exclusive in-flight rights to the UEFA Champions League, Premier League, Bundesliga, NFL, NBA, NHL, all four Tennis Grand Slams, all four Golf Majors, the NRL, plus more, the absence of live sports has had a massive impact on their ability to serve their airline customers.
Speaking to Inflight, a spokesperson would make no further comment than to confirm that the company would continue to run a 24/7 service which will now consist of less live action and more replays and highlights programming.
Elsewhere, some film studios have brought forward the streaming releases of their latest releases as more people stay at home.
Days ago, Jeff Shell, NBCUniversal’s CEO, announced that Universal Pictures would be making its movies available in the home on the same day as their global theatrical releases. Beginning with DreamWorks Animation’s Trolls World Tour (opening 10 April in the US) the company will also make movies that are currently in theatrical release available on-demand, starting as early as 20 March.
“Universal Pictures has a broad and diverse range of movies with 2020 being no exception. Rather than delaying these films or releasing them into a challenged distribution landscape, we wanted to provide an option for people to view these titles in the home that is both accessible and affordable,” said Shell.
As CNET notes, NBCUniversal’s move is the first time a major Hollywood studio has so dramatically collapsed the traditional life cycle of a film release.
Are we set to see a complete change in the window cycle for films appearing on in-flight libraries? Content service providers and their airline customers have long complained that studios stifle their attempts to reduce the time taken to bring Hollywood films onboard.
Has Shell opened a Pandora’s box for IFE?