Biz Air

I’m late to discovering Richard Branson’s plans to have entrepreneurs make video pitches, which he’ll then show to his captive audience: passengers. One wonders whether the ticket conditions should include giving Virgin a carry.

But seriously, it’s a way in which an airline can become a content publisher (one of the ideas in What Would Google Do?, which came from here). It’s a way to give his passengers extra value (hey, I discovered the next Google on my last London flight). It establishes a unique relationship with a valued demographic.

The next step should be putting cameras on the backs of seats so the VCs on board can give their critiques back to the entrepreneurs: round-trip content.

  • So what is it? The next Google, I mean.

  • If I’m a captive audience on an airplane I’m going to be ready for whatever marketing BS you bring me. Most travelers don’t care about giving their “critiques” back to “entrepreneurs” by the away. You’re flying somewhere. Period. Whether it’s your last flight to London or my next flight to Reno you can forget about your Biz Air.

  • Kyle

    What’s the next Google?

    I don’t think this captive audience thing will fly. Maybe if each seat had their own screen and flyers could opt in to a certain channel to view pitches for an incentive but that would get old quickly. For instance, where’s Sky Mall these days? Give me some good movies or music, a vodka on the rocks and then leave me alone.

  • Branson may be on to something much bigger here than selling commercials on an airline flight. If you think about some of the trends that are pushing upward these days, you see a powerful combination of timing and money.

    The first trend is the explosion of micro-niche audiences who can now find their specialized content by searching Google and others. Angel investors, who used to be limited by geography for various reasons, can now move beyond their local domains to find the next Google. While at first, Branson may only be targeting 1 Angel investor on the flight, the spill over effect could be quite powerful if the platform is in place to take advantage of it. Additionally, that Angle investor could see first hand the reaction of potential consumers for the pitched product (similar to a movie exec watching one of his movies in a Midwest theater on opening night, instead of in Hollywood).

    Secondly the platform…micro-financing. With the fears in the stock market, a sizable mass of people do not trust financial institutions and the popularity of micro-financing is growing. If I am one of those investors, I may look to fund some small businesses or start ups through mico-financing. If Branson can connect this funding platform to his information platform, the results could be powerful.

    While Branson’s mode of delivery may not be the best out of the box, it could easily be turned into a powerful system to do good worldwide…and provide cheaper flights.

  • Eddie

    Mr. J — I just finished your book last night and just want to say thanks for such a thought-provoking work. I don’t agree with everything, and in general I think you are a bit too over the top in your deification of all things G, but I do think you have made a great contribution to helping us understand the zeitgeist, or, perhaps, the g-geist …

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  • Tyrone

    Whenever I’m part af a captive audience – i. e. when I’m watching a soccer game at the stadium of my favourite club of when I travel on a train – I’m harassed with advertisement and other loads of information I do not want. Even if this information was tailored to “my needs” I would not want it. My need is not to be bothered by information at this time. All I want is to watch a soccer game or to travel from a to b. Really, sometimes I consider giving back my all season ticket and buying a car…

    As much as I like the connectedness, I humbly ask companies please not to talk to me all the time. Tons of information, ever lasting conversation – it might work if you got a Jeff Jarvis brain. For me being on a plane after a business meeting is the best time to reconsider what just happend and just THINK about it. Nothing else. That is when things come together and are somehow seem to fall into the right slots in my brain. If screens where inserted in every seat there would be no escape – even if your neighbour watches you have to watch also, since the eye is always drawn to moving images. So shall I fly with my eyes shut? I really hope airlines won’t jump on this crap.

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