Netflix is doing a pretty good job of growing its user base in homes around the world, but apparently that isn't good enough. The streaming service wants to dominate the skies, too. More specifically, Netflix wants you streaming its content during flights.
The problem with streaming Netflix on a flight, as with any other streaming service, is bandwidth. In-flight Internet access is improving, but providing it for hundreds of passengers flying at 30,000 feet still has its limits. Netflix's solution is to offer its very efficient streaming technology to the airlines.
According to Variety, Netflix is claiming it can offer high quality streaming on flights while cutting bandwidth costs by 75 percent. That's enough to make any airline executive sit up and take notice. The saving would be due to the mobile-encoding technology Netflix already employs to get its streams efficiently flowing on to our mobile devices.
Netflix already has free in-flight Wi-Fi deals with Virgin America, Virgin Australia, Aeromexico, and Qantas, but clearly wants to expand the reach of its service in the skies. And I'm sure passengers won't be complaining if they are offered high-quality streams, especially during long haul flights. The airlines can also market their flights as offering a healthy package of entertainment that's free for passengers.
For Netflix, the costs of doing this will be worth it for the potential to sign up new subscribers. Existing Netflix subscribers will gain free access through their devices while flying, but non-members will be offered a 30-day free trial so they can be entertained during their flight (and the return journey) and hopefully decide to continue subscribing the following month.