Who says print is old hat?
Esquire magazine has always tried to do its part to bridge the seemingly enormous gap between old and new media. The December issue is no different.
Partnering with new magazine app Netpage, Esquire is able to offer some of the same interactivity that its iPad version offers. At first glance, Netpage acts as an augmented reality app, allowing Bradley Cooper to speak to you from the cover for a few seconds. But the real meat of the app allows you to clip, save, and share every page in the magazine. Any ad, photo, or story can be saved in your Netpage account as a high-resolution, interactive PDF.
So how is it different from taking a picture and saving it to your phone? First and foremost, all links, videos, and other interactive elements are still interactive, allowing you to buy products from ads or watch a video paired with a story. Second, you never actually take a picture. Your camera acts as a scanner, and the app references a digital duplicate that matches the scan. The scan doesn’t take up additional space on your phone and is saved in the cloud for later use.
The caveat for Netpage is that it must partner with other magazines in order for this app to be more widely used. Currently, the app works only on this issue of Esquire. Because there are no barcodes leading to websites but rather images that are being referenced, this app can’t work with any given magazine. On the other side of the partnership, Esquire has tried using augmented reality a few times in the past, famously with the Robert Downey Jr. edition in 2009, but has always recorded far fewer interactions than expected, normally less than 10% of its readership. Augmented reality has been a bit tricky to get off the ground, but it’s slowly becoming a part of the average techie’s lifestyle. The more publicity augmented reality garners, the more accepted it will become.
There is no saying if Netpage will yield any better results for Esquire, but one thing is for sure: This is the first time an augmented-reality edition of Esquire has been thrust into the public eye since 2009, and this time many more people seem to be paying attention. The ability to capture pages for later consumption and to push those pages to your social audiences moves AR into a friendlier place in the current media landscape.
If nothing else, Netpage has done an impressive job of giving the print edition of Esquire the additional material to keep up with the mobile-evolving world. To try the app for yourself, purchase the December issue of Esquire and download the free Netpage app here:
Author: Zack Smith