Some readers of Entertainment Weekly next month will discover characters from US television programmes speaking to them from a wafer-thin video screen built into the page. The experiment â€“ which is being conducted by CBS and Pepsi, card, will see the video starting once a reader turns the appropriate page.
The cost of the full-motion video ad was not disclosed, but it will be far more expensive than traditional print ads, according to executives familiar with the technology, developed by a US company called Americhip. "It's part of the future â€“ a way to engage consumers in new and surprising ways," said George Schweitzer, president of CBS marketing group. "How do you sample a drink? You give them a taste."
The video, which will play on a screen about the size of those found on mobile telephones, will appear in copies of the Time Warner magazine sent to subscribers in the New York and Los Angeles areas. Entertainment Weekly has a circulation of 1.8m, but it had not been decided how many copies will contain the video ad.
One 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 colour ad in Entertainment Weekly costs about 9 cents a page per copy.
The goal of CBS, the US broadcaster, and Pepsi, the soft drink maker, which are paying for the promotion jointly, is that the ads will generate sufficient "buzz" about their products to justify the high costs of the high-tech advertisement.