Saturday, November 18, 2006

Your complimentary in flight magazine and satellite radio.

In a bold, yet unprecedented move, AirTran Airways recently announced it will be giving every single one of its passengers a voucher for a free Roady 2 XM satellite radio receiver. That’s right; every single passenger gets one just for flying. According to Orbitcast, the vouchers for the free RoadyXT radios will begin on flights starting today, and continue throughout the holiday season or until flight attendants have given them all away.

In a stunt that mimics Oprah’s car giveaway some years ago, XM and AirTran have teamed up to execute quite possibly the greatest hardware promotion yet. Now, of course the radio is free, but the subscription service isn’t. This is a strategy that Gillette figured out a long time ago with its “free razor on your 18th birthday” promotion idea. Gillette incurs the minuscule cost of giving you a free razor, and expects in return to make hundreds off your purchase of replacement blades. Similarly, XM is incurring the minimal cost of giving away a receiver, in hopes that it’ll reap unbelievable profits from new subscribers.

Interestingly enough, AirTran already offers complimentary in-flight XM Satellitite radio service at every seat on their airplanes. With a regular set of headphones, passengers can enjoy the blissful, commercial-free satellite radio experience that so many have come to love. Not only does this provide a 170+ channel alternative to the traditional 7 channel in-flight radio, it is a major promotional tool for XM. All passengers receive a free XM radio trial that lasts the entire length of the flight, and it is as simple as plugging in your headphones.

It’s becoming apparent that satellite radio is being forced to become more and more creative with its solicitations lately. As the audio market becomes more saturated every day with mp3 players, new satellite providers and HD radio, the competition is becoming fierce. Not to mention, XM and Sirius’ main efforts now are to attract the very niche, yet populous crowd of people who don’t have much interest in satellite or personal audio in general. As the holidays approach, there will be a major opportunity to increase subscriptions for satellite, and judging by this promotional event it looks like XM is thoroughly prepared.


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