With today's release of the Delta Studio, Atlanta-based Delta has officially become the latest US airline to offer streaming content to passengers' devices. The airline joins others, such as United, in the direct-to-device streaming revolution.
The updated Fly Delta app will allow passengers on select aircraft to stream content directly, bypassing traditional in-seat entertainment options. This allows more customization by the passenger, as far as device selection, while also reducing financial pressure related to the upfront costs of in-seat IFE installation.
The service is dubbed Delta Studio, which suggests future ambitions to not only provide streaming content but potentially also produce its own series of branded videos.
The entire catalog of content will be free for premium cabin travelers, including Economy Comfort, while Economy will receive a limited selection for free.
Here's how Delta pitches it:
Lights, camera, action! Get ready for show time with Delta Studio™, our industry-leading suite of onboard entertainment options, including the latest movies, live satellite TV, HBO®, SHOWTIME®, games and thousands of songs. Kick back and watch it all via in-flight streaming, our seat-back screens or overhead screens.
All content is free for international, First Class and Economy Comfort passengers, while domestic Economy customers will enjoy more free content than ever before and also a variety of premium content for purchase. With Delta Studio, take advantage of more free onboard entertainment options on more flights than any other U.S. airline.
The content will be streamed via the Gogo Inflight Internet network, as the content is accessible only after connecting to the network.
Ash ElDifrawi, Gogo's chief commercial officer, highlights how this shift to BYOD will positively impact the Gogo business as the company seeks to move from basic connectivity to integrated content delivery partners:
This type of integrated experience is a game changer for Delta and sets their entertainment offering apart from competitors. In addition, Delta Studio marks an important shift in how Gogo builds and delivers its products. Our goal is to provide the underlying technologies that enable our airline partners to create customized experiences for their customers.
The updated app continues to offer other features such as flight search, in-destination guides and the Glass Bottom view of the world beneath the plane.
The Delta Studio offering is currently limited to iOS. Read more here about supported devices.
The current IFE situation for Delta includes 140 domestic aircraft with IFE installed, and another 56 Boeing 757-200, 43 Boeing 737-800s and 57 Airbus A319 planes will see IFE installed by 2016. The airline also has more than 100 Airbus and Boeing planes on order through 2018, which will all feature in-seat IFE monitors.
Any airplane with WiFi installed will have access to the free streaming content, which means that the content is now available via the app or Gogo browser on over 900 aircraft. The airline promises to have WiFi installed by the end of next year on all 777s, 767s, 747s, A330s and long-haul 757s.