With the acquisition of MTN Yacht Service and Emerging Markets Communications (EMC), Global Eagle’s long-term strategy was to diversify across the mobility sector in the maritime, land and aviation industries. The leading provider of inflight entertainment, content and connectivity in the airline industry aims to utilise the opportunity to cross pollinate across the three sectors.
“It will take time for the Global Eagle brand to filter into the yachting industry,” acknowledges Ole-Kristian Sivertsen, senior vice president of maritime at Global Eagle. “We have kept the MTN brand to create a boutique feel: it’s a private piece of Global Eagle.”
Siversten admits that the superyacht industry requires a different approach to the cruise ship industry, of which EMC Connected is a market leader, and therefore wishes to keep MTN Yacht Service as a boutique company within the maritime sector. “MTN provides an understanding of the professional environment on board a yacht and that the clients need maximum utilisation,” he explains. “Therefore, a different level of responsiveness and expertise is required, which MTN Yacht Service offers.”
Thanks to Global Eagle’s strong position in the media and entertainment sectors, 50 per cent of the company’s revenue now comes from media content and the other 50 per cent comes from connectivity. MTN Yacht Service aims to promote the same model in the yachting sector. “Today the distribution for media content is connectivity, so both those aspects of our business go hand in hand,” adds Sivertsen.
“Today the distribution for media content is connectivity, so both those aspects of our business go hand in hand."
With increasing competition in the market on the connectivity side, by offering content and connectivity to superyachts, Siversten believes MTN Yacht Service will have an edge in the market. “Our big differentiation going forward will be on the content side: everyone is talking about content,” he asserts.
While providing content at sea can throw up certain challenges due to licensing, Global Eagle’s expertise in rights and licensing in the aviation industry, and relationship with Hollywood studios, will transform the process. “Everything needs to be in order when it comes to securing and protecting the content,” says Sivertsen. “This is especially important for pre-releases, which are common requests on yachts.”
Maestro Media, MTN's entertainment platform that brings together four content sources into one app and enables users to watch popular on-demand movies, live TV and live special events, is part of this strategy. The platform incorporates MTN-TV, MTN Library, My Channels, and My Library, and optimises bandwidth usage and boosts speeds to deliver content in SD and HD quality. MTN-TV has five channels consisting of mainly live news and live sports, plus a special events channel. Again, through Global Eagle, MTN is in a strong position to buy the rights for many high-profile events.
“We are looking to challenge the superyacht industry’s attitude that it is not possible to achieve the same quality of connectivity at sea as you have on land, by bringing the ‘at home’ experience on board,” concludes Siversten. “Cruise liners are not using these excuses, so why should the superyacht industry? We have a vision to change the industry to focus on the quality experience rather than technology, which no one can relate to.”
As the company sets its sights on expansion, Siversten hints at a big announcement from MTN Yacht Service to come this summer.