Print goes interactive in 3G era; aims to rejuvenate print with content, advertising and marketing innovation.
Neha S | Delhi | March 9, 2011
CyberMedia's flagship publication on business computing, PCQuest, is driving the convergence of print media and mobile multimedia, with the introduction of QR codes for both editorial content and advertising.
A QR (Quick Response) code is a barcode in two dimensions, with a black-and-white pattern of squares (standard barcodes are one-dimensional). Users scan them in a single click on their mobile camera, and the code points to a website or online multimedia content.
Coupled with a camera-equipped mobile-phone, the QR code brings rich multimedia to print.
It lets readers consume the base content in their comfort zone of print (for many) while smoothly moving back and forth to multimedia on their connected mobile, thus extending the print medium into a multimedia environment.
It lets advertisers enhance their print messaging with multimedia, such as with a short video feature or a TV commercial, offering a seamless experience across diverse media.
“We believe that timing the launch of QR codes with the 3G rollout will allow readers to move smoothly onto the next level of interactivity and convergence for print media,” said Pradeep Gupta, Chairman, CyberMedia.
“We expect this advertising and marketing innovation to lead to the rejuvenation of print--integrating print with rich multimedia on the mobile,” Gupta added.
What does a reader need?
Any camera-equipped smartphone running a standard platform (Symbian S60, BlackBerry, Android, Java, etc). The phone needs to have a QR code reader app like Flick2Know (www.f2k.mobi) or i-Nigma installed; if not, the user can download and install one in a few minutes.
The user also needs a data connection, preferably 3G or Wi-Fi (2G will also work, but will be slow, and video will be slow). Without 3G or Wi-Fi, however, a user can still download videos to the mobile, to play later.
“QR codes need two things: an internet server somewhere; and a camera-equipped smartphone, preferably running 3G. With 3G just rolling out in India, this is a great time to bring interactivity to print, which was in danger of getting jaded,” says Prasanto K Roy, chief editor of PCQuest.
“QR codes can help an advertiser measure response, which has always been a challenge in print advertising. They can also be linked to social networking sites like Facebook,” Roy added.
With this, PCQuest becomes the first magazine to deploy QR codes across editorial, effective its March 2011 issue. About a dozen QR codes in this issue of PCQuest point to different elements of multimedia, including video, web pages, data capture and a response form (for a comparative product review), the main issue cover leading to a test site, response capture for advertisements, a reader contest, discounts for subscription and events, and key announcements.
CyberMedia reports high interest by advertisers and media agencies: PCQuest will introduce advertiser QR codes from the April 2011 issue. External advertisers will use QR codes to point to video clips, multimedia segments, additional information or data capture forms--or simply, contact information for sales people.
Innovations in Print
PCQuest has a long history of innovation: Asia's first cover-mounted CD-ROM in 1995 (which became a monthly feature, and is now a DVD); Asia's first free Linux distribution (PCQ Linux), free with the issue, from 1996; Asia's first magazine-run product testing laboratory; India's first mobile SMS integration with SMS shortcodes, among others..
Downloading a QR code reader applications on your phone: QR codes can be used with all popular QR code readers, such as i-Nigma, and Flick2Know. To download, either go to www.i-nigma.mobi or http://www.f2k.mobi from your smartphone's web browser, or else SMS f2k to 56677. Install, then launch the application and scan the QR code