How Can Virtual Reality Save Print Media?

It’s becoming apparent that one of the things that separate the music industry from the print industry is that the print industry is learning how to utilize technology to grow revenue, while the music industry continues to fight technology in an attempt to hold onto revenue streams that are rapidly disappearing. When it comes to the innovation level of the print industry, few things are more impressive than augmented reality.

With augmented reality, print publications (particularly magazines) can add a layer of digital code to every page they publish and that code triggers a program in a mobile computing device (usually a smartphone). For example, a travel magazine can put a layer of digital code over an article about Paris that would cause a map of the city to appear on the screen of a smartphone when that smartphone scans the page. The same process can be used to connect to retail websites, corporate websites and anything that can be accessed through the Internet.

The Marriage Of Print And Digital

With augmented reality, a print publication can team up with an online retailer to drive sales of both magazines and products. In that travel magazine example we talked about earlier, an online retailer who sells French perfume could have a link to their products appear when the article is scanned. Advertisers can use augmented reality to offer more information on their products to interested customers, and take customers to a website where they can buy the products. Instead of print customers having to fill out and mail and order form or go to a store, they can just go online and buy whatever an advertiser is selling.

Is It Helping Print Publishers?

According to, This Old House ran a promotion in one of its 2013 print magazines and then ran the same promotion in 2014. The increase in response between 2013 was 214%, which shows that the popularity of augmented reality is growing as users learn how to utilize the digital layers in print publications to access online information.

This Old House proved that augmented reality is something that readers can understand and learn to use quickly. This sort of marriage of print and digital has been around for a few years, but it is finally showing results that are grabbing the attention of publishers, advertisers and readers. Cooking magazines, fashion magazines, and home improvement magazines are just some of the publications utilizing augmented reality to significantly increase reader interaction and advertising revenue.

Can augmented reality be used in print newspapers? Right now, the advertising inserts for newspapers offer the greatest opportunity to utilize this innovative technology. But as any publisher who has been trying to survive the transition from print to digital will tell you, it is the print publishers that embrace and utilize new technologies that will survive, and even grow, in a constantly changing media market.

What additional opportunities can publishers capitalize on by taking advantage of augmented reality?

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