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Is Augmented Reality the Future for Newspapers?

Last month The Independent launched a new daily augmented reality feature, merging the print and digital experience via Blippar, an image-recognition phone app aimed at bringing to life real-world newspapers, magazines, products and posters with exciting augmented reality experiences and instantaneous content, allowing readers to fully interact with the title.

In the run up to the Gorkana Breakfast Briefing with independent.co.uk this week, I wanted to explore what this means for the paper.

My first question is, ‘What is this?’ Armed with my iPhone, I download the Blippar app and start pointing my phone at the paper. I’ve used Blippar in the past on fashion magazines, where scanning the clothes takes you directly to the stockist’s website. However, in this case I’m taken to an independent.co.uk page containing additional content relating to the article such as videos and galleries.

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So what is the difference between this and using the website directly? If I can access all of this material online anyway, would I need to buy the paper and why would I use my phone with it? How can this be useful for me?

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I often find when I’d like to share an article it means typing the headline into Google before finding the page. But that’s a lot of effort and newspaper cut outs always become crumpled amongst my things! So this makes my life a lot easier, also giving me the ability to rant, rave and agree on opinion pieces. I personally love newspapers and I believe this feature will drive me and the traditional reader into accessing online content a lot more.

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Someone asked, is this attempt a sign of the continued decline of newspapers? I’m not sure. Print may be declining in circulation, but online figures are rising, and Indy+ is a new feature that hasn’t been tried yet, so why not?

What do you think about the new feature?

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Gorkana specialises in media intelligence & insight for PRs, Marketers & Journalists. Visit www.gorkana.com for more information.

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