During a Christmas party last year, Ledger Dispatch publisher Jack Mitchell connected the dots between augmented reality (AR) technology and printed newspapers. Another guest had contributed a bottle of 19 Crimes wine, which has labels depicting notorious criminals. With the ease of taking a mobile phone photo, that label and its featured criminal was "brought to life" on screen. Mitchell immediately recognized how AR might be applied to editorial and advertising content for his twice-weekly newspaper published in Jackson. Calif.
He began to research AR developers and found that many required readers to use third-party branded apps rather than a custom-branded app for the newspaper itself. Utah-based Strata AR was willing to create that app with Mitchell.
Partnering with Strata, Mitchell formed Interactive News (interactivenews.live), which will roll out apps to publishers around the country. They've begun to evangelize AR at industry conferences, while getting a growing number of newspaper publishers to put it to use practically.
At the Ledger Dispatch, Mitchell introduced readers to the app earlier this year with house ads and game promos.
"The advertisers get it immediately," he said. "Our ad revenues shot up dramatically. We're up 30 percent."
John Wright is Strata's CEO. Beyond being compelling and cool, there's some science behind AR's effectiveness and resonance, he pointed out: 'We have five senses, and if you activate three of the five, you'll remember it. A (printed) newspaper activates only one visual--so if you can get touch and sound involved in your...