The in-flight entertainment (IFE) market has been forecast to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.65% through to 2016, driven by the increasing number of aircraft orders, and increased number of new technologies and solutions.
IFE content has seen significant growth as airlines include wireless content streaming and portable solutions on board in response to consumer demand. The strongest growth within the IFE market will come from emerging markets in Asia-Pacific and Latin America.
Although the first movie reported to have been shown inflight was in 1921, the industry for inflight entertainment did not become a staple of commercial aviation until the 1960s.
With the increase in the demand for IFE connectivity, there is an increasing need for satellite communication in the aerospace industry. Satellite communication is being highly improved in this industry with the help of new emerging technologies.
There are plans to launch new generation high throughput satellite systems such as KA-SAT (Eutelsat) and ViaSAT at a regional level and Inmarsat Global Xpress and Intelsat Epic at a global level, to improve satellite communication.
These new technologies will provide enhanced capabilities for satellite communication as against traditional satellites. Airlines are increasingly using the technologies of Ku- and Ka-band, which come under the K-band of the microwave band, for air-to-ground communication, besides the mature L-band.
One of the major challenges in the market is the increasing regulator norms. Various regulatory bodies such as Federal Aviation Administration and European Aviation Safety Agency have laid down norms regarding the type of IFE services that can be provided on an aircraft. Hence, companies providing IFE services can only experiment with their IFE content and products within the given regulatory framework.
With the emergence of new partnerships (e.g. Gogo and Thales) and acquisitions (e.g. Zodiac and The IMS Company), the IFE industry will continue to get more competitive as more forms and packages of IFE solutions are introduced. For IFE managers at a range of airlines, it will be an increasingly daunting task to select a multi-million dollar system for their fleet that can meet the demand from their target market now and in the future.
Key players currently dominating the in-flight entertainment market include Global Eagle Entertainment Inc., Panasonic Avionics Corp., Rockwell Collins Inc., and Thales SA.
For more information on the in-flight entertainment market, see the latest research: In-Flight Entertainment Market
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