World’s first augmented reality newspaper hits presses

19 Sep 2011

In what they claim is the world’s first augmented reality-enabled newspaper, Dublin’s Metro Herald and TV3’s 3e fyi programme are to produce five ‘smart editions’.

In partnership with 3e’s weekday interactive news programme fyi, readers will be able to engage with a daily ‘What the Blipp?’ feature in-paper, which will then instantly take them to additional video content, provided by fyi.

The innovation was made possible through a deal with Blippar. Blippar works by using a smartphone or tablet’s built-in camera to recognise things in the real world and instantaneously provide users with digital connections, information or interactive entertainment on their device’s screen.

No scanning or photo taking is needed, users simply hold their device up to (or hover over) anything ‘blippable’ for an instant response, such as a web link, video, coupon, a 3D product experience or an augmented reality game.

Metro Herald will also be using Blippar across additional editorial content, including a Guilty Pleasures daily poll, daily crossword answers, email the Mailbox (letters page) and by blipping the masthead, readers will be able to see an introductory video explaining how Blippar works, again produced by fyi.

Blipping heck, how will it work?

“We know 70pc of our readers now own a smartphone and internet usage via their handset is very high,” Kiearan Forde, marketing manager for Metro Herald, said.

“Therefore, as a newspaper, we are always looking for ways to embrace smart technology and make our product as interactive as possible. We have already launched QR codes and an augmented reality campaign with Mazda into the Irish print market.

“We believe that Blippar will now allow us to take augmented reality to the next level by offering instantaneous engagement that empowers readers to interact, discover, play and engage with editorial content and advertising in a quick and seamless way.”

Brands such as Aer Lingus, Jack Daniels, Miller, The Natural Confectionery Company and Universal Pictures International Ireland will be augmenting their adverts and bringing their Metro Herald print ad to life through the interactive Blippar technology.

“fyi prides itself on being the most interactive news programme in Ireland – and this latest venture allows viewers another high-tech way to interact with fyi,” Brian Foley, series producer, fyi, explained.

“To be able to bring fyi video content to commuters on their way to work, college and school using the latest technology is an exciting new reality for fyi.”

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