Air Berlin branches into entertainment industry

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Air Berlin cites the high cost of in-flight entertainment licensing fees as one of the drivers behind its decision to team with German media company kick-media to create 'follow me entertainment', a new joint venture that is focused on entertainment production and promotion.

"80% of our 167 aircraft have video equipment on board and almost all our planes have audio connections. We have been paying high licence fees for the film and music programmes that we have used in the past. Together with kick media, we now want to produce music and video programmes to which we ourselves own the rights," says Air Berlin CEO Joachim Hunold.

"Using these [programmes] on board Air Berlin aircraft will be a first step in the marketing of those programmes. We want to generate additional revenue by utilising further distribution channels. Our web site with six million visits a month and our printed Air Berlin magazine with four million readers are superb marketing instruments for this."

Air Berlin operates a mixed fleet of Airbus A319s, A320s, A321s and Boeing 737-700s and 737-800s. It is a customer of the Boeing 787, with 18 twinjets on order with the airframer.

Italian trio Appassionante is one of the first international projects for 'follow me entertainment'. The three sopranos have exclusively recorded a classic pop anthem called "Wings" for Air Berlin.

Additionally, Air Berlin and kick-media have launched the exclusive Air Berlin Westernhagen concert through 'follow me entertainment'. The event will take place on 24 September in Berlin.

Furthermore, 'follow me entertainment' is planning to stage a new production of Frank Farian's "Daddy Cool" in conjunction with the creators of this globally successful musical, which will be performed in Majorca from 2011 onwards.

Air Berlin passengers will then be given the opportunity to buy tickets to the concert on board the carrier's aircraft. In cooperation with 'follow me entertainment', the airline is also sponsoring the Berlin Music Week.

Alexander Elbertzhagen, CEO kick-media says: "Our cooperation with Joachim Hunold and his airline represents a most exciting challenge as both companies are jointly breaking new ground with follow me entertainment. We are delighted that many artists, organisers and media suppliers have indicated their interest in working with us."

In the music sector 'follow me entertainment' is aiming for an exclusive sales cooperation with a major label.