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Cable Technology Feature Article

July 05, 2013

On Southwest, TV Flies Free

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

Southwest Airlines is rolling out free television for a limited time, sponsored by DISH Network. In a campaign appropriately dubbed “TV Flies Free,” the service will be available aboard the airline’s fleet of 400 Wi-Fi-enabled aircraft.

The service is a little bit different from the seat-back experience most of us are familiar with because it’s delivered over Wi-Fi. Viewers will need to bring their own connected device to tap the service, which includes live TV and up to 75 on-demand shows.

The live-TV lineup currently features Bravo, CNBC, FOX 5 New York (WNYW), FOX Business Network, FOX News Channel, Golf Channel, MLB (News - Alert).com (Major League Baseball, when games are available), MSNBC, NBC 4 (WNBC), NFL Network, Food Network, HGTV and Travel Channel. Popular TV show episodes are also available on demand as part of the TV lineup.

The news was unveiled by DISH’s “Boston Guys,” who have popularized DISH’s Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR with their Boston accents in DISH’s “Hoppa” commercials. They surprised each of the passengers aboard a Southwest flight from Boston to Baltimore with a free iPad 2 on behalf of the two companies.

“DISH and Southwest are two iconic American brands known for putting the customer first, providing products, services and experiences they truly demand,” said DISH president and CEO Joe Clayton. “It’s only logical our two companies should team up to give passengers free live TV and on-demand shows on flights around the country.”

Clayton added: “Customers using DISH’s award-winning DISH Anywhere and Hopper Transfers apps on their iPad can watch all their live TV, DVR recordings and on-demand shows anywhere, anytime via Wi-Fi connection or Hopper Transfers. Now, on Southwest, they can use an iPad to watch free live TV and on-demand shows. It’s a perfect fit.”

“Southwest Airlines continues to innovate and evolve our on-board customer experience,” said Kevin Krone, CMO at Southwest Airlines. “We started with Wi-Fi and now have expanded to television. This new offer puts free television in the hands of our Customers. Just one more way Southwest offers more value at 37,000 feet.”

In-air access to live TV, on-demand programming and Wi-Fi connectivity is delivered by Southwest’s satellite-based inflight entertainment and connectivity partner, Row 44, with DISH acting as a marketing partner. As part of the agreement, DISH announced a promotion for new DISH customers signing up for the Hopper Whole Home DVR and a qualified programming package, offering 12,500 points in Southwest’s Rapid Rewards frequent flyer program and the choice to receive an iPad 2.

Edited by Ashley Caputo

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