Skymall’s a Broke-Ass Mess Thanks to Tech

January 23, 2015

9:00 pm

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your days of flipping through the bizarre yet astonishing, gem-filled SkyMall magazine may be coming to the end.

It was announced today on USA Today that the producers of SkyMall, the in-flight shopping catalog are going through financial difficulties.  SkyMall LLC’s parent firm Xhibit Corp (XBTC) and related subsidiaries filed for federal bankruptcy court protection in Phoenix, citing a funding crisis and seeking a court-supervised sale of their assets.

So next time you see a copy in front of you, make sure to take it home with you. Or at least Instagram it. What used to be a great marketing opportunity for a virtually captive audience of air travelers is competing with technological devices. People are entertained in the air with their iPads, Kindles, and even work emails. Shocking, I know. Where else would you get decoration ideas so unique, that it actually scares you a bit?

sumo-table skymall

Where else will we find these gems on air?


“With the increased use of electronic devices on planes, fewer people browsed the SkyMall in-flight catalog,” wrote Wiley. “The substantial increase in the number of air carriers which provide Internet access, and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration’s recent decision to allow the use of electronic devices during take-off and landing, resulted in additional competition from e-commerce retailers and additional competition for the attention of passengers, all of which further negatively impacted SkyMall’s catalog sales.”

“Historically, the SkyMall catalog was the sole in-flight option for potential purchasers of products to review while traveling,” Xhibit Chief Financial Officer Scott Wiley wrote in a legal declaration filed with the bankruptcy petition.

The SkyMall business generated approximately $33.7 million in 2012 revenue, and that had dwindled to $15.8 million for the nine months that ended Sept. 28 2014 according to the Bankruptcy filing.

facetrainer skymall

And this? Great conversation starter

SkyMall opted to seek bankruptcy court protection after an effort to obtain additional operating capital failed. Under the sale process proposed by the debtor companies, marketing of SkyMall assets would begin immediately, an auction would be held on or about March 24 and any sale would close in April. So if you’re a tech millionaire, do something about this, and don’t let this source of conversation-starters with the random person next to you go away.

The company will maintain scaled-down operation during the process.


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Camila has been heavily active in South Florida’s tech startup community, where she is a co-host of a local radio show called pFunkcast. Camila previously worked at Greenpeace International and the Organization of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in various communication roles. A proud Brazilian who spent most of he life in Peru, she is passionate about traveling and documentaries.

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