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Stop the presses! Sort of…Entertainment Weekly is running a CBS video ad in…their print magazine. InteractiveTV Today had all the details and I was pretty blown away. Not just about the technology – which is amazing – but the idea that online is now going print instead of the other way around. This concept is a great juxtaposition of print and digital. 

The way it works is that the video player insert is a flexible, thin, plastic screen on two pages, activated when opened (like musical greeting cards). The ad has 5 channels with 40 minutes of content. Readers can change the channel by pressing buttons embedded in the print ad. It’s launching “Monday to the Max,” a campaign for CBS’s comedy and drama line up along with a promotional tie in with the new Pepsi Max. (Pepsi Max is billed as “the first diet cola for men” with ginseng and lots more caffeine than regular Pepsi.) 

The Entertainment Weekly issue won’t be out till Sept 18th but is already generating a lot of buzz. The CBS/Entertainment Weekly ad will only appear in LA and NY subscription copies - no newsstand sales - so copies are sure to be scarce. I’m looking forward to more uses of this technology which might have the added benefit of giving the struggling print industry a shot in the arm. Magazines could have unique tie-ins or exclusives with a show or movie. From gardening to news to sports publications, the possibilities are endless.

Looking forward, it would be interesting to use this technology to go further into print, broadcast and mobile convergence. Perhaps readers could have access to a ‘trial’ episode teaser clip of the show. (with appropriate cliff hanger ending, of course) In order to continue the program, you’d need to buy a subscription or pay a fee. 

Or maybe the reader would be directed to a website to sign up for a free promotion to continue watching, yielding valuable consumer information. It would be great for consumers to be able to choose where and how they continue watching the show with availability across numerous platforms. 

Also, short-form episodic content - like mobisodes or webisodes – could be available exclusively through a video player in a print publication. Theoretically, this could drive up subscriptions and test the waters for the show to eventually become a “traditional” television show or feature film. 

CBS says the video player insert, made by a Los Angeles company called Americhip Inc, will be able to withstand the binding processes and mail delivery to arrive ready to go.

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