August 20, 2009, 8:27 AM — Do you read Entertainment Weekly? And are you in New York or Los Angeles? If so, you might be one of the lucky (?) few to experience CBS's new print-magazine video ad when you're flipping through the September issue. CBS calls this a VIP (video-in-print) ad. Basically a thin electronic device is sandwiched between two pages of the magazine, with a cut-out in the 'display' page revealing a small screen. When you open the magazine to that ad a video, complete with sound, starts playing. Wired has a lot more details, and provided the video embedded below.
I'm really conflicted about this idea. The 'Nerd' side of me squeals with delight at such a geeky, fun addition to a magazine (and that they'd used characters from my favorite sit-com, The Big Bang Theory, makes it all the better). But the 'Green' side of me is aghast. What an incredible waste of resources. How much circuitry is hidden between the pages? What's the 'carbon footprint' of this issue of Entertainment Weekly vs one without the "VIP" ad?
In truth, I think even my inner nerd would only like to see this kind of thing done once. Imagine a future where these ads were common, when a doctor's waiting room is full of people reading magazines that are all playing different video clips as people leaf through. The video part is fine, but the sound would get irritating pretty quickly. That assumes the technique is limited to ads. If it were used to deliver editorial content (and be user-activated rather than on auto-play) it could be interesting and useful.
What do you think? A great new innovation to help keep print alive, or is this just a bad idea all around?