By: Nu Yang
The London 2012 Olympics were widely dubbed the “mobile games” within media circles, with 60 percent of visits to the official London2012.com website and apps originating from mobile devices, according to London 2012 head of new media Alex Balfour.
The Los Angeles Times capitalized on this mobile movement by connecting its print coverage of the London Olympics with an augmented reality app called iD Print. The free app was available for download on Apple and Android devices.
Vice president of communications Nancy Sullivan said that once the app was downloaded, readers could hover their devices over Times Olympics photos in the newspaper, press the camera button to reveal the green iD Print icon, and tap it to activate multimedia content that included photo galleries, videos, and additional stories.
“The highly visual nature of our Olympics coverage and the lengthy time frame during which the games unfold offered a perfect opportunity to present our extensive photo galleries and exclusive videos to our print-edition readers in an innovative way,” Sullivan said.
The app also generated new revenue streams for the publication. “Weekend real estate sections and real estate ads in The Envelope (the Times’ entertainment section) print section were iD-enabled to allow readers to take select home tours without leaving the page,” Sullivan said. “The app activates interior and exterior home photos and videos, as well as agent websites on ads displaying the iD logo.”
Sullivan would not release any figures but said feedback was “very positive.”
This isn’t the first time the Times has used an AR app in conjunction with the print publication. Last spring, the paper incorporated an AR app with its annual Festival of Books event. The app featured a fully interactive map, blog updates, the Festival’s Facebook and Twitter feeds, and the ability to search details on schedules, authors, and exhibitors.
“This is the latest in our ongoing adaptation of new technologies to create innovative mobile and digital experiences for our readers, while developing potential new revenue streams,” Sullivan said.