When Harry Potter opens a newspaper, a video starts playing right inside the paper. Sounds like a phenomenon from the world of fiction? Not any more. According to a story that just appeared in The Wall Street Journal, we are about to see video in a print magazine.
Video in a print magazine? Yes. The September 18 issue of Entertainment Weekly will contain screens the size of a cell phone display, and they will play CBS and Pepsi ads. Americhip developed the technology which allows up to 40 minutes of video content to be displayed on the screens.
When a reader flips to the page that contains the video ad, it will begin to play. Sort of like a greeting card that plays music when you open it.
Will this create a whole new way of experiencing print advertising? Right now there are several concerns. The cost of these ads is significantly high. There is no recycling of batteries and screens. The environmental cost is a concern, because people will simply throw the magazine away after reading. And of course there is no ability to track reader interaction.
Like all innovations, then, video-in-print has many wrinkles. What remains to be seen is whether the idea of embedding screens in print magazines takes hold before print magazines go completely online. Readers expect to be able to add comments, forward stories to friends, give feedback and so on. If print makes this happen, maybe there is a way to fulfil this expectation. Otherwise, people will increasingly use book readers - like the kindle - or smart phones, netbooks and laptops to do their reading. The debate goes on.
For now, we can agree that the Time Warner Inc. publication has opened a remarkable illustration of adding interactivity to the most unlikely environment - the print.