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Heat magazine brings issue to life via augmented reality

Bauer Media-owned British pop culture magazine Heat is adding an augmented reality layer to its static pages to give readers an incentive when they use their mobile device.

Heat is working with digital advertising firm Engine Creative and is using Aurasma?s technology to power the initiative. Similar to other Aurasma campaigns, users can download an iOS or Android application in order to participate.

?Augmented reality is the first digital technology not to cannibalize an organization?s print business. It actually supports print because it brings together the physical page that people still love to hold with all the interactivity and immediacy of online,? said Matt Mills, head of innovation at Aurasma, London.

Mobile entertainment
Inside the current issue of Heat magazine, readers can use the Aurasma app to interact with 12 pages of mobile-enabled content.

Heat has also developed a separate, publication-specific app that uses Aurasma?s technology.

The app walks users through the process of interacting with content. For instance, when opened, the app shows a picture of a smartphone scanning a page to watch a video clip.

Calls-to-action on the pages encourage users to scan the pages to unlock additional content.

The app shows users how to scan

A mobile call-to-action on the page

Examples of additional content include four videos that give users a closer look at a story on David Walliams, for instance.

The augmented reality initiative coincides with the launch of Heat TV. To help spread the word about the new television channel, users can win prizes by finding icons of TVs through the augmented reality section of the magazine.

Virtual publishing
The augmented reality issue from Heat is further proof of the growing need for publishers to use mobile in print publications in a way that gives readers an added bonus.

For example, short video clips make a natural fit with printed content to tell a story visually. Additionally, video consumption continues to increase on mobile devices, especially for short-form content.

However publishers cannot simply repurpose content from a Web site for mobile. Instead, the content needs to tie in with the print material.

Heat is not the only magazine experimenting with augmented reality.

For instance, Popular Science recently used the technology to bring the June 2012 issue to life (see story).

In the Heat case, using a branded app can be a great way to help consumers discover the extra content. The app can then be updated regularly with new features to keep users engaged.

?The industry?s moving really fast ? people are adopting this new way of engaging with content very quickly and we anticipate that in the future, we will expect the images and adverts in our favorite print titles to be augmented, live and interactive as standard,? Mr. Mills said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York