"McDonald's Magical Radio" will be available systemwide through August with free headsets, and copies of McDonald's Fun Time magazine. McDonald's songs from Kid Rhino records will be used; the records have been available at retail and via an 800-number since late 1994.
United has sold McDonald's Friendly Skies Meals systemwide since 1993.
PAYING FOR PROGRAMMING
Jim O'Donnell, chairman of consultancy Seabrook Marketing, said that such deals, increasingly involving TV programming and movie studios, help pay for programming. "These partnerships are a reflection of the intense pressure on airlines to find cost reductions," he said.
"Assuming we get good reviews, the channel will continue playing on our 777 [model] planes later in the year," accounting for about 400 planes, said Bob Williams, United manager of onboard entertainment.
Starbucks Coffee Co., whose coffee has been offered on United flights since January, will sponsor a blues channel for adults during July and August.
The airline, which wouldn't specify the cost of such sponsorships, changes audio programming every two months and continues to seek additional partners.