Airlines face fewer daunting challenges than getting people to look up and pay attention to the FAA-required safety briefing before a flight takes off.
Air New Zealand has figured out -- at least temporarily -- one way to do it: A film, inspired by an upcoming The Hobbit movie.
This is a real question...Why is it important that everyone looks up and pays attention? I fly enough that I know to quickly look to see where the two nearest exits are. After that, I think I know everything that they talk about - how to put on a seat belt, help myself before my kids, etc. New flyers will pay attention because this is new. Experienced flyers can zone out. What's wrong with that?
If there are new announcements they can highlight at the beginning and experienced flyers will learn to pay attention at the start. If there is a movie doing the talk, they can make a slightly different movie each time there is a change and regular flyers will see that the movie is different from last time and will know to pay attention; new flyers won't know that it is different since they haven't seen it before and they will pay attention. (This is similar to my idea that companies should use a different voice when they record a new voicemail tree greeting instead of saying, "Listen closely because our menu options have changed." Regular callers will hear a male voice instead of a female voice and will listen for the other changes while new callers will listen to everything because it is all new.)