Ideacast Lands Captive Audience

Ideacast, one of the major players in the emerging out-of-home video space, is adding Airline TV to its network offerings.

Through a deal with LiveTV, a wholly owned subsidiary of JetBlue Airways, Ideacast will provide content for a new in-flight channel and have exclusive ad sales rights to LiveTV video assets on in-seat screens on Continental Airlines and Frontier Airlines.

Renamed Airline TV, the network, now reaching 11 million passengers a year, is expected to hit 21 million by 2009 as Continental retrofits its fleet. Combined with Ideacast’s other networks, including Health Club TV, Transit TV and Gas Station TV, Ideacast will deliver more than 1 billion impressions a year.

The partnership is a sign of things to come in the highly fragmented out-of-home video business, where hundreds of companies hope to gain a foothold with advertisers. Some of the consolidation will be via acquisitions. So far, Ideacast has sought out strategic partnerships.

“At the end of the day, we think there will be eight to 15 companies,” said Jason Brown, president, sales and marketing at Ideacast. “When the marketplace breaks, we want to be positioned with the premier networks, networks that combine scale in relevant environments with significant dwell time, not necessarily the most or the biggest.”

Ideacast began marketing Airline TV to travel, wireless and technology marketers April 29. While inventory is limited, the audience is captive. Among ad opportunities are two minutes of roadblock ads airing on every screen directly following the airline’s safety message and five minutes of ads in four 10-minute default channels airing content made up mostly of movie trailers and DirecTV ads. For the 70 percent of passengers who don’t opt to pay $6 for 36 channels of DirecTV, Ideacast will program an ad-supported in-flight channel.

For the in-flight channel, Ideacast is talking to programmers, studios and cable providers.