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Media planners welcome Mid-Day’s QR code technology, but a lot depends on innovation, connectivity

18-February-2010
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Media planners welcome Mid-Day’s QR code technology, but a lot depends on innovation, connectivity

Mid-Day has become the first Indian print brand to introduce a technology called ‘Quick Response code technology’. This technology will enable readers to read the hard copy of the paper as well as view audio-visual linked file to the key stories on their cell phones. exchange4media spoke to some media planners and industry players to know more about this technology and how it will enhance user experience.

In order to access this technology, readers will need GRPS- enabled cell phones. All that readers have to do it is point their phones and capture the QR code printed next to the stories, which will automatically take them to the audio-visual news files.

Elaborating on this initiative, Manajit Ghoshal, Managing Director, Mid-Day Infomedia, said, “We got inspired from international brands and we kept following up on this new technology. Nobody had thought of it earlier, so we took this innovative step. We are targeting professionals initially, because most of the people in this class carry GPRS-enabled phones.”

Initially, only the lead stories will have a QR code, but once the readers get used to it, the newspaper plans to give these codes to other stories as well.

Ghosal further said, “We are not targeting revenue out of this innovation, but want to increase the reading experience of our consumers.” He, however, added that in future, there was a possibility of including advertisement in the news videos as well.

While this technology is popular in the international markets, it is being used for the first time in India. Rahul Kansal, Chief Marketing Officer, The Times of India, said, “It is a nice and innovative step taken by Mid-Day. Internationally, this technology is being used, however, this is a first for India.” He mentioned that while The Times Group provided links to news videos in their website, this was a really appreciable step taken in the print medium.

Media planners also think this innovation is a good step from Mid-Day, but add that the longevity of this innovation remains to be seen.

Nikhil Rangnekar, Executive Director, India West, Starcom Worldwide, noted that the introduction of this technology would have a positive rub-off on Mid-Day as a brand. “Readers will see this as a newspaper, which innovates to connect to its readers. Some readers may like the novelty value of this initiative and use it, but the newspaper has to sustain this by innovating and maintaining a buzz around it,” he added.

Atul Hegde, CEO, Ignitee Digital Soultions, said that while he had not tried out the QR Code Technology personally, the success of this technology would depend on factors such as how long the web page took to load and whether people had a GRPS-enabled phone. “This technology adds value to the user experience and hence a portion of the people will use it,” he said.

Hegde further pointed out that while this technology worked on GRPS-enabled handsets, a lot of college kids might not be able to use it as they would have to subscribe to a GRPS plan, which would be an added cost for a student.

According to Sanjoy Chakrabarty, CEO, Last Minute Inventory, such a technology would take the brand to the next level. “This will open up the level of interactivity in the print media and newspapers will be able to reach for the next level of technology such as m-coupons,” he concluded.

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