Is the World Ready for Video Ads in Magazines?

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This week CBS and Pepsi brought a dash of new media to old media. Selected copies of this month’s Entertainment Weekly and the September 18 edition of Time will feature video advertisements inside the pages of the paper-based magazines.

A small video screen about the size of a mobile phone screen is glued onto the page. The screen is 2.7mm thick, contains rechargeable batteries and can store forty minutes of video. CBS will show a preview of their upcoming programmes, while Pepsi will show a drinks ad.

The technology for the ad, called “Video In Print” has been developed by US company Americhip who specialise in branding and design that appeals to all five senses.


President of CBS marketing group, George Schweitzer has compared the video in print ads to the “Daily Prophet”, a newspaper with moving pictures in the Harry Potter movies. The main aim of the campaign is to create buzz about the products, enough buzz to justify the costs of the video ads.

The ads will only appear in the Los Angeles and New York, with the Financial Times reckoning the video ads will be very expensive.

One magazine industry executive with knowledge of the technology estimated that running one video ad in 100,000 copies would cost in the low seven-figure range. That would translate into a cost of several dollars per copy. By contrast, a full-page color ad in Entertainment Weekly costs about 9 cents a page per copy.

Last year, Esquire magazine also experimented with a new digital technology called e-ink to produce patterns on the cover of the mag. This wasn’t a great success, however. E-ink is the technology used in the Sony Reader and Amazon Kindle electronic books.

It will be interesting to see the results and feedback from this experiment. The ad looks pretty small on the page, just like when the first videos appeared on the web. This could be the start of something big, exciting yet possibly very annoying. It seems there is no sound control on the ad.

What do you think about this? Is it a waste of money or an exciting opportunity to use new technology?

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  • littrean

    This will be interesting to see how it’ll effect the future of marketing and advertising.

  • http://www.crearedesign.co.uk TomBradshaw

    Interesting new development, not too sure how well it’ll take off. If they sort the cost out then well maybe, but print is suffering because of the net and tv, adding a video isn’t going to solve that.

  • my_opinion

    Very interesting I knew something like this was coming. I just figured how quickly or how widespread it became would be solely tied to the cost of the technology. I agree with Tom, not too sure how well it’ll take off. However, I think it’s an awesome new development.

  • http://www.rachelreveley.co.uk artemis

    Its not meant to be a solution its meant to be viral, and its definitely worked. How often does Sitepoint write about print relate stuff.

  • W1LL

    It just sounds very annoying to me. Imagine sitting on a bus or train and loads of adverts all going off with no way of turning the volume down/off.

  • Jake

    Actually, didn’t Jeep run the first ad like this in Esquire about 6 months ago?

  • http://www.arwebdesign.net samanime

    Will, you thought exactly the same thing as I did when I first read the “no volume control” part.

    To me, they seem just like the ads we try so hard to avoid on the internet. Now we have to get a Ad blocker for print…

  • LiquidDigital

    My kind of ad-blocker for print is grabbing the little screen and tearing it off… solves that problem pretty quickly!