media update’s Jenna Cook uncovers why on-board publications are an essential medium for advertisers.

In-flight magazines have been the seatback staple since they were first printed in the 1960s. They promise to keep passengers company all the way from takeoff to landing by offering an escape from the perpetual boredom of air travel.

However, they are more than an easy way to pass the time. These on-board publications are a way for airlines to bring together writers, advertisers and consumers all in one thoughtfully presented layout.

Here are four ways that on-board publications benefit advertisers:

1. In-flight magazines have a captive audience

Air travel is unique from other modes of transport in that passengers are locked inside a pressure-sensitive tin can from the time they leave the ground until the moment they land.

Passengers will be looking for things to keep them busy on long-haul flights. And what do they do to occupy the time in the sky? (Especially during takeoff and landing where electronic devices are not permitted.) They’re not condemned to boredom, but instead can reach into the seat pocket to find an in-flight magazine.

Granted, not every passenger will pick up the magazine; however, they still offer a prime opportunity for advertisers to market their services. They make for a great read when passengers are tired, bored and hungry for anything that will keep their minds occupied.

Additionally, passengers cannot simply walk away from this content without having to return to their seats and seeing it in front of them again.

2. These publications have a global reach

With thousands of people flying all across the world every day, a single flight can host passengers from a variety of races, religions and economic classes. This makes creating content that will suit anyone very difficult.

For many passengers, reading the content in an on-board magazine may be the first – and last time – that they hear about a certain product, cultural practice or destination.

For advertisers, this means they’ll be sharing products across a whole host of potential consumers, some of whom they may have never even considered – which is an opportunity to reach untapped markets.

3. In-flight magazines need to offer something for everyone

Airlines know that their on-board magazine can set the tone and style of their brand, so aligning their publications with content and advertisers who fit their image is very important.

The kinds of stories that you’ll find will typically reflect the culture of the airline’s home country, or of the airline itself, and can range from the political and economic climate to the latest tabloid news.

Of course, these magazines wouldn’t be fully encompassing lifestyle publications without the top stories from travel writers, tips on the local cuisine and detailed catalogues of the duty-free shopping typically available on board.

Sourcing this content will give an opportunity to local writers and advertisers to showcase their thoughts and services.

Advertisers can capitalise on the fact that if passengers are interested in learning more about their destination, then the on-board magazine is the place to go.

4. These publications are a tangible experience for passengers

Technology may offer a threat to in-flight magazines and the print industry at large. But with your favourite device in ‘flight mode’, some of its main capabilities may be limited while in the sky.

A magazine does not require streaming or any downloadable content to be used. And, as discussed in a previous media update article, people like engaging with print material.

For a passenger, it can become very easy to immerse themselves in the tangibility of the publication by picking up the content, holding it and reading it. This is already a much more engaging experience than passively scrolling through content on a digital device.

Their experience will also be uninterrupted by pop-up ads, auto-playing videos and all the other distractions that come with the Internet. This is great news for advertisers who want to get the full attention of their readers.

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Consumers have access to more information than ever before. But with so much content out there, how do you make sure that yours gets read? Read our article, Long-form or short-form content: Five steps to choosing the right one.
*Image courtesy of Vecteezy