Times Internet is taking its augmented reality initiative to the next logical step by launching a self service platform for brands to create campaigns that can be deployed on Times Group’s publications and consumed by users who have downloaded the Alive App.
Ajay Vaishnavi the Director of Times Mobile tells me that the Alive app which they launched last year has had one million downloads until last month. “We do almost 5 million scans every month,” said Ajay. The company has done nearly 200 campaigns for different brands so far.
Every campaign required customised development and required more work to be done with each brand. The self service platform will solve that pain. Now brands, publishers and media agencies can create augmented reality campaigns on their own to run on various Times Group publications.
It is payment integrated and campaigns can be created and deployed quickly, says Ajay. The site is quite easy to navigate and creating campaigns seems simple enough. It also has a reporting and analytics tool that lets users track and monitor their campaigns.
The Alive app is now also available on Java phones. In a months time, the company is planning to integrate QR codes as well into the app.
The problem & opportunity with Augmented Reality for Print
Indian print publications, especially the English ones, are going to meet the same fate as their American counterparts. Print readership and engagement is going to fall and sooner or later, they will have to make a sustainable transition to online publishing.
If you look at the Alive app from that perspective, it doesn’t seem like a great bet to make. However, the Alive app improves the engagement on ad campaigns dramatically by taking it online. It makes the otherwise unidirectional print content interactive.
It could also play a massive role in bridging the print- online divide for advertisers. Imagine if the Times could show millions of its readers an advertisement which leads them to a place where they could buy a product from (maybe the Times’s E-commerce store)? It completes the whole cycle (from creating an intent to initiating a buy) for print publications.
We are talking of a whole new revenue stream for print publications here!
Note to the team: are you storing passwords in plain text? Really?? (Read: Do Indian e-commerce companies care about security?)