Airline mergers good for magazines, but Wi-Fi threatens

SKY, Delta Airlines inflight magazine, went from 3.9 million readers to 4.7 million when Delta merged with Northwest Airlines.  And United Airlines’ HEMISPHERES* is more than doubling its audience this month as it takes over the seatback pockets on Continental, a result of the merger between the two airlines.

The increasing circulation is obviously delighting the publishers and the advertisers that feel there is a positive effect from having a captive audience.

But the relaxed, interference-free reading environment in an airplane cabin is about to disappear as more airlines transform their planes into Wi-Fi “hotspots,” allowing passengers to connect laptop computers and smartphones to the Internet.

Will this year see the end of inflight magazines?

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