Times Internet Ltd, the digital arm of the media house Bennett, Coleman & Co. Ltd (BCCL), says it has clocked 250,000 downloads of its augmented reality app Alive, which was launched a few days ago to add an online experience to its offline media product. Alive also saw some 300,000 augmented reality interactions on its launch day, the company claimed.
Although other local media houses and Indian publications of international media companies have experimented with augmented reality experience to offer more to the readers of their offline publications, given the reach of the BCCL group, this is possibly the most significant attempt at such value addition.
One can download the Alive app for free but it will incur some data charges for accessing the service.
The media group aims to use its newspapers as a menu card for its readers to interact via multimedia. "This is a way for us to turn the paper into a multi-dimensional medium. All our editorial teams across different media are collaborating to curate and create the best experience for our readers every day. We have more exciting content and innovations coming soon," said Satyan Gajwani, CEO of Times Internet.
"Unlike others, who integrate their augmented reality apps with just ads, we are integrating it with exclusive content," he added.
The app allows a section of smartphone users (iOS, Android, BlackBerry and some versions of Symbian handsets) to scan through the printed materials on The Times of India newspaper and also gain multimedia experience through videos, photos and polls.
"We are integrating it across all of our media outlets. Right now, it is available for The Times of India and Bombay Times, Delhi Times, etc. But the app will be soon available for The Economic Times and other language newspapers," added Gajwani.
A Juniper study predicts that augmented reality apps will generate $300 million revenues in 2013 and will hit $5.2 billion in 2017, an increase from the predicted $82 million in 2012. The report also states that more than 2.5 billion augmented reality apps will be downloaded by 2017, a majority of which will be games that use augmented reality to add an additional layer of interaction to content.
(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)