Five. That’s how many screens are in my life most days. There’s my work computer, my most meaningful LCD relationship. And then there’s my laptop, which I drag around on errands and often carry from room to room in the house. Then there’s my iPad (my preferred vehicle for Netflix, Facebook Scrabble and a fun app for the gym). I’ve got an Android smartphone and a plain old TV. (Yes, just one. It migrates from the living room during football season to the bedroom for the rest of the year.)
Toss in all the screens I pay for (those college kids like their laptops, smartphones and TV sets, too), and the numbers shoot up. Now add in all the screens I casually encounter in a day — so far today, that’s one at the gas station, one at the supermarket and one at the pet store. I’m well into the teens, and it’s barely lunchtime — and I’m a low-tech person!
That’s why working with Adam Broitman and John Swords, the big brains behind Circ.us, and the guest editors of the wonderful, 22-page “All the World’s A Screen” section of this magazine has been so inspiring. The pair, who have done groundbreaking tech work for such clients as Ben and Jerry’s, Cisco, HBO and Red Bull, brought all kinds of creative thinking to this project. Thanks to them, and this oh-so-19th-century magazine you may be holding in your hands, you’ll never look at the screens in your life quite the same way.
And by creative, I mean well beyond the usual marketing definition. They’ve commissioned a great piece of fiction by John C. Havens about augmented reality. Brought in five visuals artists, who have provided a whole new way to look at the use of QR codes, which invite not only visual but also sound and music into the print experience. They’ve covered the growth of social TV and the many ways in which the future of screens is already here. To experience the ways they’ve brought all these screen under Circ.us’ giant tent, turn to page 45.
Grading By Genre: Our TV Report Card
And for those of you itching for insights into the plain-Jane screen that is regular TV — which let’s face it, for most of us, is still sort of the Mother Ship of All Screens — we corralled some of our favorite writers to weigh in on the state of programming. They give us a report card of how well the world of news, drama, comedy, sports and reality have done this year. Turns out the NFL, the Arab Spring and Breaking Bad have been good for plenty of us. (Nor am I the only one dismayed by this century’s reinterpretation of Charlie’s Angels.) They even step a few months into the future, predicting what all of us might see when that circus known as the upfront season comes to town.
On page 40, Stephen McClellan takes a closer look at what TV companies and their clients are calling integrated media, the catch phrase for the increasingly nimble ways they are finding to link the 30-second TV spot—still the industry’s core currency—across multiple channels. That’s not just following soccer fans, for example, across all their screens. It even includes using your car’s GPS to play a video games on your phone, linked to the latest episode of your favorite show.
And don’t miss Erik Sass’ update on how the digital-out-of-home industry is dealing—or perhaps not dealing—with the still-sensitive issue of facial recognition technology. Scared off by potential legal and privacy problems, marketers have instead focused on the promise of near-field communications, but thanks to Intel, that may soon be changing.
And before you roll your eyes with that, “Who cares — TV is dead” thing, turn to page 37 for Carrie Cummings’ insightful Q&A with Magnaglobal’s Vincent Letang. Not only can he explain the delicious concept of “video snacking,” he predicts an increase of 6.8 percent in TV revenues in the year ahead (or 2.4 percent without the Olympics or the elections). Even better, it’s still stealing market share from print, radio and newspapers. At least for now, cancel the wake and head to the circus.