Times of India uses Augmented Reality app to engage print readers

By Sheena Kapoor

With the declining print readership internationally, The Times Group wanted to find a way to make print more interesting and give readers more engaging content by providing a cutting-edge technology that changes the passive consumption of news.

Although print has, for centuries, been an invaluable medium for news dissemination, The Times Group recognised a need to provide a new dimension to the print medium. So we created the Alive application.

The Alive application intends to provide more innovations and interactivity to the readers and convert a casual/passive reader into a highly engaged audience by allowing them to take part in polls, contests, and various other forms of engagement.

Alive is a revolutionary image recognition Augmented Reality (AR) application from the house of The Times Group, the largest media conglomerate in India. Alive allows readers to interact with editorial, images text, symbols, and to access to rich media content, such as videos and photos.

AR is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics, or GPS data. We successfully developed one of the fastest AR browsers available on five major platforms, one that fits effortlessly in the Indian ecosystem and offers users a novel experience.

Alive uses the camera in a smartphone or tablet to recognise images that can be scanned and return a response in the form of video, game, Web-redirection, to generate a call, SMS, and e-mail, as well as share on social media like Twitter and Facebook.

Alive has, for the first time, made the newspaper an interactive and seamless way of integrating multiple platforms across mobile, digital, and video. Since its launch in January of 2013, Alive has received an overwhelming response, garnering nearly 1 million downloads across smartphone users in India.

With more than 50 million scans, 300 advertisers on board, and an average time of three minutes per scan, Alive has been a stupendous success.

Alive is the only AR app in the world today that users can access from any of the five phone OS platforms – Android, iOS, Symbian, Windows, and Blackberry. It can also be downloaded from www.alivear.com.

Users can not only see the augmented story, but can share the same on various social networks, through Facebook, Twitter, e-mail, etc. In addition to The Times of India, Alive App works with print magazines, including Filmfare, Femina, Grazia, Hello, and GoodHomes.

The concept of augmented content has also caught the imagination of many brands that have used the Alive app to augment their print advertising campaigns. More than 300 brands across categories of FMCG, real estate, fashion and lifestyle, insurance and automobiles have used the Alive app for their campaigns.

Users have included such well-known names as Vodafone, Knorr Soups, Google+, LG, Volvo, Cosmic Group, and Blackberry. (Click here for updated case studies.)

In addition, The Times of India daily carries editorial photos that are Alive augmented for breaking stories, interesting videos, or celebrity promotions. 

About Sheena Kapoor

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