digEcor looks to become 'one-stop-shop' for hardware, content

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Semi-embedded and fully embedded in-flight entertainment (IFE) solutions are being explored as part of digEcor's move to become a total IFE solutions provider of both robust hardware and relevant content.

The company has made a name for itself in the portable IFE space, capturing an estimated 45% of the global handheld IFE sector. "But if you look at what we have done, we actually believe we offer more content variety than anyone out there," says digEcor President Brad Heckel.

He says digEcor is "trying to move away from being [simply] a hardware provider with some Hollywood studio content" to become "a total entertainment solutions provider".

This means becoming "a one-stop-shop as a company and that includes the various content offerings that can be put on an ever-expanding offering of hardware, higher level of support, and also a lower cost".

A few years ago digEcor said it was looking at offering an embedded system, the digEsystem. This particular platform, which was to be designed by Colorado-based consulting firm Triad Systems Engineering (TSE), is no longer under development.

But digEcor reveals it is still studying in-seat solutions. "We are still exploring the possibility of an embedded system as market needs and drivers evolve. As per the branding, if we at some time determine to release an embedded solution, the name will then be selected at that time," says a digEcor spokesman.

In tandem with this, and in the face of a global economic recession, digEcor is exploring ways to generate fresh ancillary revenue streams for airlines.

Heckel says two customers of digEcor's portable players have IFE programmes in place that have proven to be net profit generators. But in-flight gaming represents another area that promises ancillary gains for airlines.

Earlier this month digEcor announced an exclusive partnership with Flight Deck Gaming, a Los Angeles-headquartered start-up that has already built a diverse portfolio of gaming applications.

"For us, this has been a partnership and relationship we've been searching for quite a while and finally feel we've found the right team," says Heckel.

"We are in very specific conversations with probably half a dozen airlines, where Flight Deck Gaming is either already included in the contract or is part of the discussion for the offering, and I might add that the airlines have been very receptive to the concept and to what it is that Flight Deck Gaming can bring in terms of games and ancillary revenue."

Flight Deck Gaming managing partner Howard Woods says there are multiple ways to derive revenue from gaming. In addition to basic subscriptions, there are advertising opportunities - either alongside or actually embedded into the game itself - and sponsorship opportunities, which work particularly well with network and tournament type game play.

"All of those or any combination is embedded in the model we employ to create total revenue," says Woods.