Can quick response codes save the newspaper industry?

9 Apr 2010

Plummeting circulation and ad sales are the bane of the newspaper world, but the onset of quick response codes are tipped to make newspaper ads more interactive and be part of the digital revolution.

A technology, already available in North America and mainland Europe is set to become ubiquitous in Ireland through mobile services company Digital Reach Group (DRG).

Smartphone owners will now have access to instant and extra information on their handsets when they scan a barcode displayed alongside a printed ad, editorial, on merchandise or displays.

The system is set to give print advertising in Ireland boost by making ads truly interactive and rewarding audiences with content they want. As well as additional informative content, competitions, promotions, timetables, music and games can now be easily accessed by pointing and scanning.

DRG has signed a deal with Scanbuy to begin offering the service exclusively in Ireland. Scanbuy is a leading global provider of mobile barcode solutions, or Quick Response (QR) codes, through its system ScanLife.

DRG offers advertisers and businesses a full mobile web strategy service including app development and site optimisation for mobile viewing. The company was behind RTE’s highly successful News Now iPhone app and sells advertising on many highly popular mobile sites including Vodafone and Meteor for which it recently announced another exclusive deal.

“With mobile internet and smartphones becoming the norm there is an increasing expectation from the public to be able to get the information they have on the internet at home straight to their handset quickly and with no fuss,” explained DRG’s managing director Colm Grealy.

“The service we are bringing to Ireland will truly integrate mobile internet browsing into consumer’s daily lives,” Grealy said.

The service is aimed at advertisers, ad agencies, retailers and traditional media publishers. QR codes can be bought as an add-on to traditional ad campaigns, packaging and merchandise displays.

DRG will be offering a full service for advertisers wishing to integrate the technology into a campaign including strategy input, providing unique codes for campaigns and the option of designing the landing page or website behind the code.

“QR codes are a very exciting development for print and outdoor advertising,” Grealy explained. For example, we can enhance a movie ad that will allow for someone to see a trailer on their phone instantly, download a movie wall paper and also find out where the next showing of the film will be. This dynamic advertising will give value to advertisers and consumers alike.”

DRG will be offering the platform exclusively in Ireland as part of a growing portfolio of mobile services, including mobile phone apps, advertising sales, advertising networks and ad-serving technology.

The company is already in discussions with a major publisher to start using the system to offer additional value to printed ads and editorial content.

“The proliferation of internet equipped phones such as iPhones, Android and newer Nokia handsets gives advertisers a tremendous opportunity to reach a sizable and engaged audience,” Scanbuy CEO Jonathan Bulkeley explained.

“With mobile codes the offline and online world can now be easily bridged. A scan of a print ad will instantly take people directly to a supporting web site and the opportunities are endless from there.”

The Scanlife app is available for download on most popular phones including, Nokia, iPhone, Samsung and handsets using Google’s Android system.

By John Kennedy

Pictured below: Colm Grealy, managing director, Digital Reach Group

Colm Grealy


John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years