Cover-mounted multimedia CD-Rom's exploded as a popular format during the 1990's, and 21st Century New Media's MD Clifford White found himself at the very eye of that storm when he was invited by new media company In Chair Viewing to accept the role of editor in producing an innovative and exciting series of CD-Rom covermounts for publishing giant Conde Nast...
In July 1998, Conde Nast introduced an interactive CD-Rom with its men’s monthly, GQ, which offered readers a visual extension of the magazine and, for the first time, allowed advertisers to take up slots.
The CD-Rom, created by In Chair Viewing, was covermounted with the July 1998 issue of GQ. Readers were able to watch and hear clips from songs and films as well as see fashion, sports and car reviews. The CD lasted between 45 and 60 minutes and offered a full-screen video presentation.
It was the first time a magazine CD had featured advertising. Carling Premier, the sponsor of the World Cup, booked advertising across the first CD and slots were made available to advertisers on future CDs.
The CD was promoted on the 13 June edition of ITV’s Chart Show, referring about 1.9 million viewers to the CD if they want to vote for their favourite video clip to be shown on the programme the following week. Conde Nast also cross-promoted the GQ CD on Virgin’s Internet site, which ran a competition based on questions about the CD’s content.
Nicholas Coleridge, managing director of Conde Nast, said: ’We are trying to invest in snazzier covermounts. It’s a way of doing something exciting which reflects the GQ brand.’
The pilot was successful, and a second CD-Rom was produced...
For the second GQ CD-Rom, Clifford suggested a paranormal theme, which coincided with the release of the new X-Files movie 'Fight the Future'.
In addition to a trailer for the new movie, the CD-Rom also featured interviews with the films stars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny, information about the X-Files game from Fox Interactive, and a selection of X-Files books, videos and other merchandise.
Of course, no showcase of this type would have been complete without the appearance of famed paranormalist Uri Geller, who was contacted and interviewed by Clifford at his home. In addition to answering questions about the paranormal, Uri also hosted a psychic competition for GQ readers. Clifford also wrote a new atmospheric and haunting piece of music to accompany this section of the CD-Rom.
The CD-Rom also featured a trip to Silverstone Circuit, home of the British Grand Prix, for a filmed interview with Jordan team member Damon Hill, as well as fashion from Paul Smith, a boxing section featuring Mike Tyson and Muhammad Ali, another Model of the Month segment in which GQ readers could vote for their favourite model, and a special promotion for 'Bootie Call', the latest single from the pop group All Saints. Further animated advertisements were included on the CD-Rom from Fox, Sony and AOL.
In early 2000, Clifford was contacted by BBC Radio 1 DJ and Top of the Pops presenter Gary Davis, with an invitation to begin creating his own CD-Rom covermounts in-house. Clifford formed his own company 21st Century New Media Ltd and embarked on his most ambitious period yet, creating CD-Roms for Gary's company Upfront for a number of publishers, beginning with Shine Magazine.
In contrast to the rather laddish tone of the GQ CD-Roms, it was time for women to bounce back with their own brand of CD-Rom covermounts, featuring fashion and beauty tips from this popular publisher, as well as a greatly expanded musical segment comprising of music videos from top record labels and music publishers.
Split into two halves, the Behind the Scenes section of the CD-Rom featured a variety of editorial video segments entitled The Shine Effect, Beauty Shoot, Cheeky Saucy, How cool are you? and Get Fit Now, all of which featured interviews and mini-documentaries with Shine magazine staff, competition winners and readers.
No fewer than eleven music videos were featured on the music video section of the CD-Rom, including the latest singles from Tom Jones (Sexbomb), All Saints (Pure Shores), Toploader, Anne Lee, Kawala and Mint Royale.
Following on from the success of the Shine Magazine CD-Rom covermount, DJ Gary Davis asked Clifford and his company to produce another covermounted CD-Rom, this time for the even more glamorous New Woman magazine.
Featuring a selection of the very latest music videos embedded into a specially branded animated menu, this CD-Rom included tracks from Gabrielle (When a woman), Amber (Sexual), Madasun (Don't you worry), Black Box Recorder (Facts of life), Craig David (Fill me in), Moby (Porcelain), Dubstar (i) and Elevator Suite (Backaround).
Reflecting the theme of relationships for this particular issue of New Woman magazine, each screen of the CD-Rom also featured little animations of Venus and Mars symbols, floating about in time with the music, the number of which depended on the number and gender of the members in the band i.e. Craig David had one Mars symbol, whereas Elevator Suite had three.
Clifford and his team very much enjoyed adding these kinds of subtleties to the CD-Roms they produced during this highly creative period in their career.