Making print newspapers come alive with augmented reality

What if you didn’t just read your printed newspaper, but truly experienced it?

Publications enhanced with augmented reality are now allowing newspaper readers to experience print in exciting new ways; to look past the ink-on-paper surface and access deeper, richer content from their newspapers.

During a recent INK+BEYOND session on Layar technology, Alvin Brouwer, Glacier Media’s president of lower mainland publishing and digital, described newspapers as the world’s first truly interactive media. “They exist across multiple platforms, offering print, audio, video, digital, broadcasting, social and ecommerce services to its increasingly diverse audiences.” Brouwer was joined by Nigel Newton from Layar, the world’s leading augmented reality brand, to show delegates how this new technology can help newspapers to increase engagement, improve utility, generate new revenue and tell a better story.

Newspaper readers are no longer simply readers. They want to be able to interact with editorial and advertising content. They are viewers, listeners, consumers, engagers and buyers and all of these different functions can be facilitated in print by augmented reality technology. Layar can allow print newspaper readers to connect their digital lives with the physical world.

“We’re is pioneering the interactive print movement and paving the way for a more robust future for the publishing industry in a digital age.” explained Newton. Unlike QR codes, Layar is much more experiential and valuable. Readers can scan any Layar-enabled newspaper page with their smartphone and access a variety of additional content including video, e-commerce, social media sharing options and photo galleries. “It’s a brand extension for advertisers that is really easy to sell and really easy to create,” said Brouwer. “It has the potential to be a game changer.”

One of the many benefit of Layar enabled content is the valuable metrics newspapers can collect from readers and share with their advertisers and editorial teams. Every single ad can be measured and give newspapers a real insight into how audiences are consuming the printed product. “We can go back to client and tell them exactly how many people interacted with the ad and what they clicked on,” said Brouwer. “Clients are now starting to demand this and we know it’s going to accelerate.”

Glacier Media recently became the first newspaper group in the world to launch augmented reality to this scale across all of its newspapers. “There is a steep learning curve so we’re definitely making mistakes, but it’s a process,” said Brouwer. “Our sales people are selling these ads and generating revenue on this new technology. Glacier hasn’t hired any new sales or editorial staff members to sell or create the Layar enabled print content. “It’s easy to understand, clients get it and it’s a natural extension of our current strategy,” said Brouwer. “You don’t have to hire digital people to do this; it’s an easy transition.”

Brouwer and Newton showed delegates some creative examples of how publications have incorporated AR technology in their editorial content with Layar. Front pages that come to life with audio, entertainment features can include movie trailers and previews, and sports content can link to current scores and photo galleries.

The AR functions for advertisers are numerous and provide an excellent opportunity for creativity. Clients