Row 44 gets major studio support for in-flight VOD platform, can't match Gogo's reach

Southwest Airlines passengers now have something better to do on their cross-country jaunts than grip the armrests and pray that the kid behind 'em stops kicking the seat. Row 44 has partnered with Disney, Warner Brothers, Universal and Fox to create an on-demand streaming service for folks who bring their WiFi-enabled devices onboard. You'll get a variety of archive content to watch as you cruise the friendly skies, including shows like Friends, Glee and The Office as well as big-ticket movies like Harry Potter, Avatar and Inception. The service also offers streaming IPTV, with CNBC, Fox News and NBC Sports on tap initially. Row 44's market share is paltry compared to Gogo -- which has the business of every WiFi-lovin' airline in America outside of Southwest -- but it's certainly interesting news in light of the latter's own video endeavors. Mum's the word on pricing, but we're told that the new material can be accessed "later this year."

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Disney, Warner Bros., Universal, FOX and Row 44 Turn Air Travelers' Wi-Fi Devices into In-Flight Video Screens

Row 44 Partners with Twentieth Century FOX, Universal, Warner Bros. and Disney to Deliver On-Demand Movies and Television Episodes In-Flight Streamed to Passengers' Wi-Fi Enabled Devices

Westlake Village, CA (September 12, 2011) – Row 44, Inc., provider of the world's leading In-Flight Broadband Entertainment Platform, will now offer a wireless video-on-demand service that enables passengers to access an extensive library of movies and television episodes in-flight, streamed to their smart phones, tablets and laptops. Row 44's new service is launching with many popular current and classic movies and TV shows – from launch partners Disney, Universal, Twentieth Century FOX and Warner Bros.

Passengers can now use their Wi-Fi enabled devices in-flight to access all genres of video entertainment from major Hollywood studios – episodes of Friends, Glee, The Office, Modern Family and The Three Stooges, for example, or movies such as Avatar, Harry Potter, Inception, Toy Story and the Hitchcock classics. Action-adventure, drama, children's, comedy, and other genres of movies and TV are available in Row 44's video-on-demand library, to satisfy the diverse interests of the flying public.

Row 44 will continue to enhance the programming available in-flight through additional partnerships and innovative programming opportunities.

In addition to this new streaming video service, Row 44's In-Flight Broadband Entertainment Platform also offers in-flight service for live streaming IPTV – enabling passengers to view on their Wi-Fi devices live broadcasts from such networks as CNBC, FOX News Channel and VERSUS (to be rebranded NBC Sports Network on January 2).

"Passengers want flight time to pass quickly – and that means a wide selection of entertainment opportunities," said Howard Lefkowitz, Row 44's Chief Commercial Officer. "Adding live streaming IPTV television and now an extensive library of on-demand movies and TV shows to our world-leading broadband Wi-Fi connectivity system creates an unmatched in-flight entertainment offering – an outstanding experience for passengers and maximum revenue-generating potential for airlines. Row 44 brings it all together – and this is just the beginning of our innovation in this space."

Lefkowitz added, "For airlines that do not want to deal with the cost, weight and installation time of adding seatback screens – and even airlines with onboard IFE systems – Row 44's In-Flight Broadband Entertainment Platform offers a much more robust and modern solution. Passengers already bring their own Wi-Fi devices onboard; the growth in that market has been staggering. Being able to use my own device in-flight to choose from so many video entertainment options – and still Facebook with my friends and see pictures of my children – is like sitting me in my living room while I fly. That's the unmatched customer experience we bring to our airline partners."

"Southwest knows our Customers want the ability to customize their onboard entertainment experience," said Dave Ridley, Southwest's Chief Marketing Officer. "Allowing our Customers to choose from hundreds of TV shows and movies on a Southwest flight will be a great addition to the Southwest in-flight product offering. We're very excited about unveiling this service later this year."