July 12 2021  |  Inflight Entertainment

Contactless content

By Jane Hobson

This is a special feature from PAX Tech's July 2021 Cabin Hygiene, Seating & IFEC digital edition.

PressReader and Qatar Airways have partnered to fully integrate more than 7,000 publications into the Oryx One app

The days of downloading multiple apps, agreeing to terms and jumping between screens to access desired inflight reading content is officially over for Qatar Airway’s passengers. As of March this year, passengers can access more than 7,000 global digital magazine and newspaper titles in one seamless experience via its inflight entertainment app Oryx One and a partnership with PressReader.

Passengers can access titles by downloading the Oryx One app to their personal electronic devices, inserting their Booking Reference Number and select the PressReader titles they wish to save, from more than 120 countries and 60 languages. The service is available up to 72 hours before and seven days after scheduled flights. The downloaded content will remain in the library for as long as the app is installed, helping to reduce newspaper and magazine waste, both on the ground and in flight by more than 1,000 tonnes each year.

Qatar and PressReader pioneered a new way of app integration, through which Qatar passengers do not need to leave Oryx One or download additional apps to access the PressReader content at any point.

"Qatar is the first airline to fully integrate PressReader and its premium catalog. Both Qatar and the team at PressReader are thrilled to launch this method," says Carlos Martinez, Director Partnerships at PressReader.

Standard integration
Until recently, PressReader has offered one method of app integration that allows passengers to authenticate and have access to PressReader through a partner's app. Despite being a simple solution, this provides an elevated passenger experience. This method of integration requires passengers to download both the partner app and PressReader to get access to titles. If passengers do not have PressReader installed, they would be prompted to download it, and it will immediately open the content available.

This is the easiest and fastest way to integrate and provide passenger access to PressReader’s catalog, and it does not substantially increase the size of the host app, says Martinez.

Fully integrated
Qatar Airways worked with Ensemble Media as its technology partner to manage the full integration into the Oryx One app.

Building the UX (User Experience) and UI (User Interface) into the app likely took the work of two or three very skilled software designers.

“PressReader has the publications organized by countries, by languages, by categories. It’s very hard to replicate that. It’s a lot work that has been done in the PressReader app throughout the years to achieve this,” he says.

The advantage to being fully integrated is that users remain in the Qatar app, which may help track, predict and improve passenger digital behaviors. But it can also add some weight to the size of the host app as it requires more space.

“Qatar Airways onboard experience remains the cornerstone of the airline’s world renowned five-star service," said Akbar Al Baker, Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive in the March announcement. "Despite the many challenges faced by the industry as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, we continue to be passionate about achieving the highest standards of safety and excellence in everything we do. Our partnership with PressReader not only offers a COVID-safe, contactless entertainment option to further enhance our passenger’s onboard experience, it also supports our commitment to environmental sustainability, which continues to be a key focus for the airline.”

“We are honored to be chosen by Qatar Airways to bring quality journalism and a superior reading experience to its customers in a 100 percent contactless way pre-, during- and post-flight," said Alex Kroogman, Founder and CEO, PressReader Group of Companies.

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