NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The competitive and lucrative world of in-flight magazines saw a seismic shift this week among its custom publishers. Ink Publishing, with offices in London, New York and Atlanta, picked up Hemispheres, the in-flight magazine for United Airlines, while Minneapolis-based MSP Communications will now take on publishing duties for Delta Air Lines' in-flight mag, Delta-Sky.
Both publications previously were handled by Pace Communications, Greensboro, N.C. Pace, which did not return a call for comment, still retains publishing duties for the in-flight magazines for Southwest and US Airways.
The shift of Delta-Sky makes sense. MSP Communications already handles the in-flight magazine for Northwest Airlines, which has been taken over by Delta in a merger that was finalized earlier this year. The two will become one airline, under the Delta Air Lines logo, sometime late next year.
A leader in the category
United put its award-winning Hemispheres up for review among several custom publishers, with Ink winning out. Ink has vast experience in the category -- it already publishes 36 magazines for 32 airlines in 22 countries and in 17 languages. With United, Air Tran and Midwest, it now has three of the top 13 U.S.-based airline in-flight magazines.
United flew 92 million passengers last year, third behind Delta's 109 million and American Airlines' 98 million.
Jeffrey O'Rourke, CEO of Ink Publishing, told Advertising Age the print run for Hemispheres will be 350,000 copies a month. Hemispheres had $62 million in revenue in 2007, according to Publishers Information Bureau calculations (number of ad pages multiplied by rate-card rate), the most of any in-flight magazine.