January 29, 2013 00:00 By Asina Pornwasin
Digital innovation is set to revolutionise our reading habits as a new digital mobile service called "iSnap" makes its debut in printed newspapers in Thailand.
In the second country to launch the iSnap multimedia augmented reality (AR) capability after Malaysia, Nation Multimedia Group’s three national newspapers – The Nation, Kom Chad Luek and Krungthep Turakij – will enable readers to watch video, scan through more photos and graphics, play games, and engage in social media communication as well as interactive advertising.
People can read newspapers with the iSnap multimedia capability through smart phones with the iPhone and Android ‘Nation News’ app from February 4. Nation News already has a download base of 208,000, which is expected to swell.
iSnap is a complete real-time AR, bridging the traditional world of publishing and the digital world of information. Justin Tan, director of Singapore-based Knorex Pte, the developer of iSnap, said the technology was developed to help the traditional publishing industry capitalise on digital dynamism.
iSnap will make news stories in newspapers live and lively with multimedia features.
With AR, image recognition, optical character recognition (OCR), and semantic technologies, Nation Group’s newspapers will provide a variety of news stories to their audiences including news through video clips, news photo galleries, animated infographics, and even the original sound of the story – all via the printed paper.
iSnap employs cloud computers to upload real-time multimedia content from Nation Group’s convergence newsroom – bypassing the incumbent websites, and is an advance on QR code which has been slow in taking off. It will accompany the Nation News app, which has been updated from today, said Editor-in-Chief Thepchai Yong.
“In the past decade, newspapers were isolated and separated from the digital world, especially news websites. From now on, newspapers can integrate these two totally different worlds, digital and traditional newspaper, into one,” said Malaysian-born Tan.
He said iSnap makes newspapers come alive to attract readers. It turns readers into audiences, since they will no longer merely read news stories in the papers but will watch and listen to these same stories via the mobile devices – now on both iOS and Android platforms, as tablets and smart phones. “Today, people consume a lot more news and information. But they are moving away from the traditional outlets, including reading newspapers, watching TV and listening to the radio, to do all these things [reading, watching and listening] on moveable devices like tablets and smart phones,” Tan added.
“iSnap is not a stand-alone application. It is the feature embedded in ‘news’ applications to enhance the capability of news stories in the newspaper to be more than just plain text and photos,” he said.
To experience this, users just need to download the “Nation News” app, then choose the iSnap feature (turn on the camera) when they want to ‘snap’ the stories contained in the newspaper. The stories will then appear in the other formats.
“Users can snap only stories on newspapers marked with the ‘iSnap’ logo. We need more processing at the back end of newspaper development to provide news via the iSnap feature – but these newspapers with the iSnap feature can carry as many stories as [traditional] newspapers,” said Tan.
iSnap will not only attract readers from these traditional papers, it will also help publishers to increase the value of newspaper advertising by being more attractive and providing more multimedia features as well.
Tan said iSnap would help increase the number of newspaper readers and increase advertising revenue. The beauty of iSnap is it also allows publishers to be informed which news stories attract the most attention, are most engaging, and deliver feedback. Futhermore, it also provides the same facility to advertisers. A number of advertisers have joined Nation Group to launch a similar multimedia capability through their advertisements in Nation Group’s newspapers.
Currently, the iSnap feature is being launched with leading newspapers throughout the Asia region including The Star (in Malaysia), Eleven Media (in Myanmar), Philippine Daily Inquirer, China Daily Asia Weekly, The Edge, Singapore, Kompas and The Jakarta Post, and Thailand’s Nation Group daily newspapers, said The Nation president Pana Janviroj.
“Newspapers are still the main source of advertising revenue for publishers. Revenue from the Web and apps remain quite small. Profit from websites is less than 5 per cent. iSnap’s dynamism will address this,” said Tan. “Some 15 brands have joined Nation Group in this new mobile innovation. Publishers can increase the price of advertising once they offer more attractive, more multimedia details, and more engaging advertising in newspapers. Apart from offering ads in newspapers, they can put them into TV commercials, video clips, and multimedia format advertising for the newspaper’s pages.”
iSnap launch schedule
Today: New Nation News app available on iTunes and Android
February 4: iSnap on Nation News available for access to multimedia editorials in three Nation Group's national newspapers
February 8: iSnap on Nation News available to access multimedia advertisements in three Nation Group's national newspapers
_ Every registered 1,000 downloads of Nation News will be eligible to win a Samsung smart phone/tablet.