By: Nu Yang
A new mobile app offers publishers a way to bridge the gap between print and digital. While a traditional paperboy delivers newspapers to your front door, Swiss company kooaba’s Paperboy app delivers the paper to your digital devices. Paperboy is a free download for iPhone as well as Android-based smartphones.
Paperboy (paperboytool.com) uses image recognition to connect the printed publication with digital extras on mobile phones such as pictures, videos, interviews, and audio samples. All readers have to do is take a photo of the page, and they are taken to the digital version right on their phones.
“The app is powered with sophisticated image recognition technology,” said marketing manager Tom Desmet. “It connects the real world with the digital world without the need to add a bar or QR codes or watermarks.”
Besides the interactive print, readers see other benefits. Just by taking a picture of an article, readers can share that news through email or social media — “a digital version of tearing out pages,” Desmet said.
An attractive feature for publishers is how easy it is to make their paper interactive: Just upload a PDF of the new issue to kooaba’s servers, and the proprietary technology does the rest. Each printed page gets connected to a mobile results page via image recognition. This also includes print advertisements, called Smart Ads.
“Advertisers can now enrich their ads with great content and services, such as coupons, sweepstakes, and product videos,” Desmet said.
With a paid version, publishers can view statistics of when, where, and what readers are taking pictures of, which is useful in targeting their audience.
By partnering with NewspaperDirect (newspaperdirect.com), kooaba has access to almost 2,000 newspapers worldwide. If a publisher is a client of NewspaperDirect, the paper will automatically receive a free, basic version of interactive print. According to Desmet, that’s more than 40,000 pages per day.
“Sometimes clients in the beginning are a bit reserved when it comes down to the thought that their valuable content can be shared on the Internet,” he said. “(But) publishers will never lose subscribers by sharing content … That is something publishers have come to realize more and more.”
Like many others in the industry, Desmet recognizes that rapid changes are occurring. “Good alternative carriers, such as smartphones and tablets, are coming into play, and we need to find a way for the traditional printed media to become more attractive to a younger audience.
“As long as there is a big market for reading printed media — and there is — we should find ways to make it more competitive with the digital content,” Desmet continued. “With Paperboy, we start with bridging the gap and combining both worlds instead of replacing one for the other.”