Portable IFE players to find sweet spot in 2009: analyst

Hello 2009! And welcome back RWG readers.

Last week I did the unthinkable. I harassed two well-known IFE&C gurus during the holidays in order to secure comment for an industry forecast piece for Flight magazine. Thankfully, IMDC chief executive Wale Adepoju and consultant Michael Planey were willing to spare a few minutes for me. I’ll lay out their predictions about in-flight connectivity more fully here in the coming weeks, but first let’s talk about portable IFE system makers.

Portable - IMS.jpg

Admittedly, I haven’t written a lot about these guys lately (DigEcor, e.Digital, Bluebox, IMS and company, although we did discuss Bluebox’s wireless IFE plans). However, it looks like they could find themselves in a very sweet spot in 2009. Why? Because when airlines slow or stop delivery of new aircraft (which are generally equpped with installed IFE) they start using portables, says Adepoju.

Additionally, as the market goes down, says Adepoju: “Some airlines say ‘ we can’t afford to do [installed IFE] now, so let’s put portables on board’.”

Indeed, portables “might go up by 10% to 15% in 2009″, he says, adding: “It’s going to be a good year for those guys.”

It’s a trend duly noted by attendees at last year’s World Airline Entertainment Association (WAEA) conference and exhibition in Long Beach, California.

But what does a down market mean for players in the installed IFE space? Planey notes that Boeing and Airbus “are talking about being stuck with whitetails this year, built with IFE systems”.

Key quote:

“How does that hurt Panasonic and Thales? Do they have a system sitting on an airplane without being in revenue service? Two or three of those starts to affect the bottom line.”

(Photo of IMS portable found at http://imsinflight.com/portables.html ) 

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One Response to Portable IFE players to find sweet spot in 2009: analyst

  1. Bob January 7, 2009 at 4:12 am #

    I sure hope that DigEcor gets their DigEplayer working a little bit better if they are going to benefit from the lack of factory installed IFE. I just used one on my Hawaiian Airlines flight and the battery didn’t last worth a darn. Halfway through the movie I was watching, it died. Replacement battery came, it worked for about 15 minutes and the player stopped again. This time the flight attendant opened the battery door, slammed the battery pack back in while commenting that these batteries have terrible connections and do this all of the time. It lasted the rest of the flight, but I had to start over and fast forward to where I left off twice. Granted that the flight was a little bumpy, but this shouldn’t have happened.
    Aloha from Kailua Kona Mary.

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