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Airlines Plan to Serve Targeted Ads to Idle Fliers

Airlines are about to start making more money off fliers.

The pro: It won’t cost fliers a dime. The con: It includes more ads with creepily accurate targeting.

Panasonic Avionics, a in-flight entertainment supplier for airlines like United and Singapore Airlines, inked a partnership this week with digital ad tech firm MediaShift to build an ad platform that generates ancillary revenue for carriers by creating a direct ad path to travelers.

Panasonic previously delivered ads to passengers using a service called OneMedia, but it’d lose fliers as soon as they logged into a Wi-Fi session.

The new technology from MediaShift helps Panasonic solve this problem and, according to a Panasonic spokesperson, “open up a previously untapped revenue stream for our airline partners.”

Advertisers will pay Panasonic and their airline customers for the privilege of sending targeted ads to often affluent travelers that have time to spare a few extra seconds on an ad at 30,000 feet.

The new ads will appear both on devices provided by the carrier and flyers’ personal devices. A website’s regular ads will appear for one second before being replaced by a targeted ad served through the in-flight Wi-Fi and entertainment system.

A MediaShift spokesperson says there’s already been strong interest in the new platform. The company expects the advertisers will be a mix of travel and destination advertisers as well as large brand advertisers from financial services, clothing, and entertainment.

MediaShift’s Monetization Platform is already used on the ground at more than 5,000 hotels and several large ariports in North America.

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