Netflix is making a pitch to expand its streaming service to airlines and help them improve their in-flight Wi-Fi.
The company says it will extend its mobile device encoding technology to the world’s airline carriers in hopes of getting its streaming service on more flights and giving airlines the opportunity to offer free or low-cost in-flight Wi-Fi. Mobile encoding uses much less bandwidth than what you get on a desktop.
The company says that passengers will be able to use its mobile-encoding technology to watch videos on Wi-Fi, and the airlines will be able to save up to 75 percent in bandwidth costs.
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Netflix already has free, in-flight Wi-Fi deals with Virgin America, Aeromexico, Qantas and Virgin Australia.
Passengers on partner carriers can access Netflix from their carry-on devices and watch the streaming service at no extra charge, Variety reports. Non-members are offered the option of signing up for a free trial.
“By partnering with us this will result in significant bandwidth savings for carriers,” Spencer Wang, vice president of finance and investor relations at Netflix, said at the APEX EXPO. “Instead of worrying about bandwidth, you can now support and promote certain in-flight services as a core part of your offering rather than sticking it on some kind of premium tier.”
Netflix plans to launch the initiative next year.
Last year, both American Airlines and Southwest Airlines made moves to improve bandwidth on their domestic flights to provide faster internet service.
American Airlines offers Wi-Fi on nearly all flights in the United States for $16 for an all-day pass. Customers can stream movies, email large files and surf the internet during flights. Southwest Airlines charges $8 per device per day to use in-flight Wi-Fi on its flights and offers free live TV for personal devices.