OPINION: Why 'hovering' is the future

Andrew Davis
By Andrew Davis | 4 June 2012
Tapit's Andrew Davis.

Publishers “hovering” into the future is a positive step. How many times have you been on the web today with your mobile phone? No doubt at least once with a few more snack sessions to come before you close your eyes for bed.

For many of us, using our phones to access news and related content has become the norm (even on the toilet according to Sensis!) and why wouldn’t we? It’s up to date, accessible and low cost which are all key criteria when understanding consumption on mobile devices.

Rising digital consumption which began on desktops and now rising exponentially across mobile has obviously impacted traditional print and press publishers locally and abroad; many experiencing dramatic losses of readership and a few coming to a sad end. Traditionally, these publishers have been looking at ways they can monetise the rise in digital consumption by creating similar online based press and print titles to offset the fall in their physical-based siblings.

Logically, this makes sense, however the challenge for publishers is how they continue to create value for both their online and physical-based brands without cannibalising each other. Recently a number of publishers - such as News Limited (News Alive), Fairfax (Airlink) and soon ACP (Viewa) - launched solutions that see publishers taking a positive step to create products that finally see the two siblings of online and physical media coming together in a way that enriches a reader’s experience with the publisher’s static and digital content.

In the instance of Fairfax’s “Airlink”, users who have the SMH app on iPhone have the ability to use the “Airlink” function which uses your phone camera to process selected content on the page of the newspaper and bring it to life digitally on the phone. This can be anything from videos, photos or other digital media related to the content on the physical page.

Similarly, if a user does this over advertising content on the page the advertiser content suddenly comes to life on your mobile device. While there are sceptics out there who instantly dismiss this stuff as a fad or quick PR stunt, I see it as a great first step for publishers trying to create value that compliments the strengths of each form of media for the benefit of the reader, if this is achieved the benefits can also be extended to advertisers such as CommBank who are currently executing with the News Limited “Alive” launch.

The opportunities for creativity are endless from the advertiser’s perspective as their advertising ceases to be purely static and suddenly becomes dynamic with the ability to deliver digital content directly to the consumer. To my understanding all these products currently require a consumer to first download an application onto their phone which is an effort. However, Fairfax cleverly included “Airlink” as a new feature for existing app users which immediately allow all SMH app users to experience the technology without having to download another app.

App or no app, I firmly believe this is a positive first step for publishers developing products that enrich our experiences with their brands physically and digitally. Hopefully the marketing community takes this as a sign of things to come on how consumers can start interacting with their brands in physical environments.

Andrew Davis
Agency Director

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