Monday, September 21, 2009

How Green Is Your Magazine?

US magazine ‘Entertainment Weekly’ is about to change the way we read paper magazines. It will introduce in its September edition a wafer-thin screen which is embedded in the pages and that will promote TV shows and Pepsi.

We first saw the eink screen in Esquire but this clearly goes one step further and offers video-in-print. The concept works a bit like the novelty greeting cards that play music when they are opened. A screen, which is around the size of a mobile display and a quarter-inch–thick, automatically starts after 5 seconds of opening the page with the advertisement is opened. Each chip that stores the advert is capable of holding up to 40 minutes of video and has rechargeable batteries. However just like the greeting card there is a user beware flag as there are no volume controls and therefore everyone in close proximity will hear it too. Great idea to get people talking but a problem for the poor guy who is just trying to read the article!

CBS is promoting shows such as The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men and a preview of the network's autumn line-up. Pepsi is promoting the Pepsi Max soft drink. The video ads will only appear in certain copies which are posted to subscribers in Los Angeles and New York.

The additional cost of inserting the video ads into the magazine has not been revealed. But the aim is to charge a premium for the ads that use the technology as they have much greater potential to grab the attention of a reader. Also CBS and Pepsi refuse to reveal how much the advertising cost are but it has been suggested that it could be as much as $20 for each copy.

At a time when newsprint and magazines are grappling with digital change this could be seen as a mere gimmick. It would appear to make more sense to invest in advertising within digital which could give as great a return than showboating technology which is cumbersome, adding addition distribution cost, is not reusable or recyclable and therefore environmentally unfriendly.

Nice technology but wrong application today

1 comment:

Brian O'Leary said...

There is something to be said for dancing with the girl that brought you. EW (which I helped start) should offer a variety of ways to interact with its content, but they should not try to be gathered up in one "device". A magazine is a magazine. Trying to make it a video player generates PR (for EW, CBS and the ad agencies involved) but it isn't a desirable consumer experience.