The Weekly Geek: The new VIP


Have you ever found yourself reading a print magazine and thought, “Hey, this is nice, but I really wish it were louder!” If so, you have very strange sensibilities — and you should get ready to run out and buy the September 18 issue of Entertainment Weekly, wherein CBS (and Pepsi Max) have planted the very first Video In Print (or VIP) promotion.

VIP (their clever marketing slogan, not mine) consists of a tiny screen that plays a short promo clip. It’s part of a multi-page spread hawking the CBS lineup, and it’s very loud. If you like to ingest your print media in peace, stay away!

Now, the video-enhanced run is only available in certain regions (New York and LA), and, of course, it’s just an advertisement. The only reason it’s so noteworthy is that it’s bridging the print media divide in the opposite direction of the general trend.

CBS’s “The Mentalist”

As a recent Wired post mentioned, most text-based digital media is now emulating the print medium (ala Kindle), and multimedia has truly become the norm for many folks when it comes to their preferences in entertainment, news and other information gathering. Just look at all the transformations our beloved has gone through in the last few years for more evidence. But this is an entirely unprecedented move, and, surely, it won’t be the only time we see something like this in a popular print magazine.

I can’t get over how weird it would feel to be holding a nice, old-fashioned paper magazine and all of a sudden have it (literally) talk to me. As much as I’m a complete web geek, I do like print media — especially glossy, high-quality magazines. There’s something visceral and satisfying about having the story or photo right in your hands — the same goes for books. Few people will take an expensive (or tiny) media device with them to the gym (or the restroom), after all.

CBS’s lesbian family on “There Goes the Neighborhood”

What do you think, readers? Is this gimmick a sign of the times, or does it represent a potential leap forward for truly cross media messages? I’ll be skeptical until we’re at the level of Minority Report — or at least, until I can somehow watch Rachel Maddow while still reading a newspaper. Then, I will be duly (and dorkily) impressed.

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