Sharing Your Airplane Seat With Jack Welch

BusinessWeek Puts Columns on Tray Tables

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NEW YORK ( -- Airline magazines have thrived despite a tough print-media business precisely because they reach attractive readers with copies in seatbacks while they're trapped, phones turned off, perhaps with nothing to do.

Content from BusinessWeek on tray tables will be updated monthly.
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But there's more than one way to monetize a captive consumer: BusinessWeek has struck a deal to pair columns from the magazine with ads sold by Brand Connections, a "nontraditional" media company, on airplane tray tables starting next month.

"The magazine continues to evolve, and this is an interesting way to show people how we are evolving, not just with these brand-name columnists but out there on a tray table in an airplane," said Geoff Dodge, publisher, BusinessWeek. The first columnists featured are Maria Bartiromo, Robert M. Parker, and Jack and Suzy Welch. "Something like this is very contemporary."

Aisle, middle and window seats will show different BusinessWeek content -- and all of them will be updated monthly.

Better than advertising alone
Brand Connections has tested advertising alone on America West tray tables for a couple of years, but has found in recent tests that adding the BusinessWeek content increases the units' appeal. Advertisers pay the bill, to the tune of $19 per flight, while BusinessWeek gets essentially free branding exposure, said Brian F. Martin, CEO, Brand Connections. The company has expanded its airline roster to include US Airways and is in talks with others, he said. The program, currently in economy seating, is scheduled to expand to first-class sections in the third quarter of this year.

Asked whether there isn't enough ad clutter all around already, Mr. Martin said third-party research has shown consumer acceptance, even appreciation, for the tray-table program. "When you see these things on a plane, they actually make the plane interior look remarkably better," he said.
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