Providing African content for in-flight entertainment – John Parr, Global Eagle on what content works and why it does

12 January 2018

Top Story

London This week Russell Southwood talks to John Parr, Content Programme Manager - Africa, Global Eagle about the kind of content airlines are looking for and the criteria they are expecting from films they take.

Global Eagle is the biggest provider of in-flight content and systems and former producer John Parr is responsible for acquiring content for them in Africa. Global Eagle has deals with a good part of the airlines flying to and from the continent and acquires both English and French films.

"Passengers flying to and from Africa want African content. As there is a diverse audience, we don't want anyone saying this is not for me. It’s all about entertainment, light on sex and swearing but you do want audiences to laugh and cry".

“While Nigeria and South Africa provide the majority of content, we try to source films from as wide an area as possible and are always searching for high quality content. A recent example of this is a film from Tanzania entitled ‘T-Junction ‘that was very successful for us. It was a simple story told well, and technically adept – all important ingredients for a winning inflight movie.”

There's a high level of interest from both producers and distributors: "I have been a producer so I'm sympathetic to producers. I know how difficult it is to sell movies. I've made an effort to meet people at markets like DISCOP where I found myself taking meetings from 9-7 every day".

Exhibition lengths can differ from one client to the next for various reasons: How long the content is shown, which can be anything from two months to six months.

It's also important to give him for sub-titling purposes a "properly translated script of the film as it makes our process easier and I can then provide the film with confidence to interested airlines."

Last but not least it's important to get the sound right: "Sound is often a big problem and I can tell immediately what's wrong with the sound. If a distributor, or content owner wants to pitch content, I always suggest to spend time on the technical details, it’s vital for acceptance in this market."

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