IndiGo, India’s largest airline by fleet and marketshare, has been working with a very nimble model for a very long time. Same kind of aircraft with a similar configuration, no IFE, no loyalty programme, just point to point connectivity across the country and the promise of low fares. It has worked spectacularly for them for so long.
The lack of IFE options, however, has been a sore point for the airline’s passengers, as almost every other airline went on to launch these. Jet Airways had them, Vistara launched it as well, SpiceJet had it, Air India had it in a few planes, but India’s most dominant carrier did not have it.
Now, IndiGo is making their first move for IFE but in a very convoluted way. IndiGo has partnered with SonyLIV, one of the many OTT media providers in India, to provide their content to IndiGo flyers at a special price of INR 25, which is four rupees cheaper than what SonyLIV sells in the open market.
Here is how this works. IndiGo’s passengers will get an exclusive link to buy the weekly pack of SonyLIV before they get on the plane. You buy the subscription, download the content you need before you come on the plane, and watch it on the aircraft if you choose. Unlike the other airlines which provide you streaming IFE so you have the choice of watching whatever is there on the catalogue of the airline, in this case, IndiGo does not seem to be putting up a streaming IFE box on their aircraft.
On offer are all sorts of exclusive shows, movies, web originals, Ashes, Kaun Banega Crorepati and other stuff. IndiGo has been careful to not call this inflight entertainment, but refers to it as entertainment experience in the press release they sent out. The partnership will be available only on the domestic flights of IndiGo.
When does this partnership activate for customers is still not known, but this is basically another way for IndiGo to offer an option to their customers to buy content, without the airline having to invest in IFE boxes on board their planes which would be a capital investment and also add weight to the planes (even if the Bluebox ones are very light). Also, this becomes a revenue centre for IndiGo and not a cost centre now, as they will be able to collect some amount of commission on the number of SonyLIV packs they sell.
If you already have a subscription with another OTT player, and download content before you fly for your IndiGo flights, this is no value addition to you, unless you want to watch Kaun Banega Crorepati on the aircraft.
What do you make of the new content partnership on board IndiGo?