Sorry!! The article you are trying to read is not available now.
Thank you very much;
you're only a step away from
downloading your reports.

CBS and Pepsi Go Digital with Print Advertising


Video screen will be inserted in select issues of Entertainment Weekly.

For the last decade or so, the print industry has been struggling to remain relevant in the face of interactive and online media. Blogs and instant updates have eliminated the need to pick up an outdated version of headlines in bulky newsprint, forcing countless customers to second-guess paying for a paper or magazine. As it continues to lag behind the digital competition, the print industry needs to pull out all the stops -- which is what one publication intends to do.

Eager to give its print division a much-needed boost, Time Warner (TWX) is hoping to lure more people to the magazine rack with a vibrant ad campaign for CBS (CBS) programming and Pepsi Max (PEP) in select issues of Entertainment Weekly next month.

Much like an audio greeting card, the two-page insert features a two-inch screen that plays short video clips in relatively sharp resolution when the page is opened. Created by the Los Angeles-based Americhip, the video player is controlled by a column of buttons below the screen that select which clip to play -- be it a clip from Big Bang Theory or a commercial for Pepsi Max. The speaker isn't volume controlled but plays fairly loudly -- probably to lure the attention of the commuter sitting beside you on the subway.

The video screen is able to hold up to 40 minutes of video and has a rechargeable battery -- though readers will unlikely want to fire up a talking ad after it's run out of juice.

The campaign is boasted as "the first-ever VIP (video-in-print) promotion," but CBS' president of marketing George Scweitzer isn't revealing exactly how much each magazine insert costs. "More than a can of Pepsi," he hinted. Paul Caine -- president of Entertainment Weekly's parent division Time Inc. -- told The Wall Street Journal that the cost is in the low-teens ballpark, but could come down before the issue hits stores.

In recent years, various publications have tested gimmicks like this to boost sales with mixed results.

In September 2008, Esquire claimed to usher in the 21st century with flashing e-ink on its cover, but the overall effect was drab and disappointing. Opium Magazine made headlines by actually lacking one -- its June issue featured a cover which would eventually reveal itself over the course of 1,000 years. Everyone without a cryogenics tank will have to take the publisher's word for it.

But aside from perfume inserts and talking My Name Is Earl ads, CBS and Pepsi's video screen could spark a movement to produce more vibrant and interactive print publications. Fold-able video displays are forthcoming -- if developers are to be believed -- and while they're not as dynamic and undetectable as the newspapers and cereal boxes in Minority Report, it is a promising step in that direction. And if a Wi-Fi receiver can fit inside a digital camera's SD card, it wouldn't be out of the question to insert one in a newspaper corner to produce updating content.

Though the science is still far off, the print industry should definitely be looking toward the future if they want to keep in step with the web. While it may not be up-to-the-second revisions to ongoing stories, the CBS/Pepsi video is -- admittedly -- pretty neat.
No positions in stocks mentioned.
Featured Videos