jetblue.JPGA friend of mine recently took a flight on Jet Blue. He was impressed with the experience of the flight, but had an interesting comment relating to his experience with XM Satellite Radio on the flight.

He, like me, has been invested in the satellite radio equities since the very early on, so I take his opinion seriously, but did not want to write about it because I had not yet experienced XM on a Jet Blue Flight.

sm_xm_logo.gifMore often than not, if I can fly out of Providence Rhode Island I do so. The airport is more accessible than Logan airport in Boston, and the terminals are not as crowded. Jet Blue does not fly out of Providence, so until now, I had not been on a Jet Blue flight.

My friends experience and comments after his flight were:

1. If you already have satellite radio you might get excited about XM being on Jet Blue…..BUT…..If you have never experienced satellite radio, it is not the optimum experience.

2. Users are listening with sub-par earphones that do not present the crystal clear sound that you would get from another venue. The sound equates to that which you expect from FM, and satellite needs to differentiate itself from FM in terms of quality. Jet Blue’s XM experience simply does not offer this.

3. Most flights have flight magazines in the seat backs. Jet Blue, because there is a video monitor at every seat does not have this. They rely totally on the video to maintain a captive audience. This can be quite compelling, but the XM screens on the video simply give artist and title, and offer nothing in terms of informing the consumer what XM has to offer. No mention of commercial free music, and no mention or special promotions are present. They do not even give the web address.

As a long time investor and satellite radio subscriber myself, I must say that I was disappointed in what my friend had to say. On a flight you have a captive audience, you need to put on the best show possible and take advantage of that fact.

Well, on June 24th, I found myself boarding a Jet Blue flight to Florida, and while I am headed for a small vacation, I found myself compelled to put my friend’s statements to the test.

I must say that I agree with my friend. The idea of having access to XM is great, but the service is not marketed as well as it could be. Sound quality was okay, but nothing special, and the absence of marketing material or graphical information for the consumer was obvious. I think of this as constructive criticism.

What I would Suggest:

1. Seat back informational cards that tell the XM story and show what is available on XM.
2. Putting a brochure in the seatback and incorporating a catchy graphic on the video display that informs the consumer about the brochure.
3. Some special cards for free three day trials, or some discounted hardware.
4. While more bold, it may serve XM well to publish a little newsletter that tells about things such as Artist Confidential, Dylan, Decades Channels, MLB, etc.
5. They may even do some catchy phases on the “motion sickness bag” such as “Need to calm your nerves? Why not listen to The Heart Channel 23” or “Take Your mind off of the flight and jam to 20 on 20 XM channel 20.” Make XM a fun experience that people will remember, and want to try again soon.

In short, the concept for marketing XM on flights is in place, it just needs some marketing boosters to help the process along. They should, in my opinion, assume that the listener is experiencing XM for the first time, and try to utilize the video component of the Jet Blue service better.

Jet Blue has a winning concept with Direct TV and XM being offered. XM should take advantage of that where they can. I look forward to my return flight, and hope that XM considers some of these items.
Position - Long XM -IMOJB-