I was at Target yesterday browsing the magazine stand for some gadget related magazines, but I couldn't find any. Then the December 2012 GQ magazine caught my eye. It had Rihanna on the cover; who mysteriously
appears to be getting younger instead of older.
Anyway, I was flipping through the pages in search of the Rihanna article so that I could "read" the story. As you may know, magazines are designed so that the story pages are physically shorter in width so that they hide between the ad pages. Other way to put it; the ads are designed to be seen above any article.
Since I couldn't avoid looking at the ads, I paid one of them more attention than I wanted to. I noticed that the ad had a GQ Live app marking on the page. Upon further investigating I found that the free GQ Live app for Apple iOS and Android, would make certain pages come alive. I couldn't wait to download the app to my iPhone 5 (luckily I switched from Sprint to Verizon or I would have had to wait because Sprint service does not work well at all in that store). I downloaded the app fairly quickly and began trying the app and the magazine out. The app's interface is very simple; it looks like a basic camera app. It uses the back camera on the device to "see" the image
on the magazine page. When it recognizes the image, it transforms the page into a living video. This technology allows a stagnate picture to provide much more information to the reader than it would otherwise.
Along with this, this technology obviously provides the advertiser with important information that the normal page couldn't capture. like whether a reader viewed the page at all, reveal at what point the reader stop watching the page, did the viewer stop viewing before the intended message was provided.
Since the information is streaming from the Internet, it could be modified to better convey the message. I noticed on GQ's website that the streamed content does have a expiration date. Not sure why it does, but I would guess it expires after the period that the advertiser paid for it to be available.
The GQ live content appears to be made with advertising as the focus, but there were articles with "live" content. But clearly the majority, maybe 95% of the GQ Live content was added to the ads. I did find the Rihanna article, but I was not able to check it out at all because I had to find a flat surface to lay the magazine out so that I could point the phone at it. The content pages that I found were all about Rihanna, but she was nearly naked on all of the pages.
How would that have looked to the other shoppers, with me standing over a magazine with my phone taking pictures of the young naked girl on the pages. Dirty old man! I didn't think I was old at 46, but the pictures of Rihanna made her look like she was only 18 or 19 years old. But I digress, the GQ Live worked very well. Some pages simply added a little video clip and included a www icon that launched the appropriate website when touched. Others literally made it appear as if the people or items on the page came alive. It was very impressive.
I could imagine this technology being used for other magazines like video game magazines that could better engage the reader and possibly lead to more purchases of the gaming titles. Or how about viewing an article that reviews a product like an iPad and then is able to allow you to see the item in action?
There are many uses for this technology. Maybe the print medium can be revived with this or is this just a temporary bridge until it all become totally digital? What do you think?
Here are a couple of screen shots I grabbed: