Digital print magazine Drafted's expansion wants to prove print is not dead

by: Lucinda Southern on 12 March 2015

AR technology is getting more sophisticated, with Blippar, Magic Leap and Metaio all making waves

Virtual reality companies that demand your attention

Magic Leap

Google's $542 million investment in 2014 thrust the company into the limelight, we're still waiting to see what comes of this company, but if its promos are anything to go by it will be putting augmented reality into your hands before too long.

Metaio

More sophisticated tech from Metaio at MWC 2015 means that we're on or way to turning any surface into an interactive screen by using thermal touch and viewing it through smartphones to track residual heat from your body.

Drafted is touting augmented reality as a lifeline for print media, using smartphones to remove any barrier between the content and the conversion.

The magazine started life in 2012 as a free London-based circular fusing ‘popular culture with innovation and interaction,’ focusing on lifestyle, fashion and entertainment, (see the introductory video).

Talking to 12ahead, founder Kyle Goodwin points out fashion was an obvious choice when devising the magazine’s content. He notes “fashion has always been at the forefront of technological experimentation,” a sentiment that finds truth in many examples, recently seen in Fashion Week.

The number of copies in circulation is in the process of growing from 10,000 to 100,000, distributed outside London’s busiest tube stations. Currently though, Goodwin calculates the readership figures to nearer the 30,000 mark. The product is designed to be kept, shared and passed around, championing a longer physical shelf life, although with digital activation.

A close partnership with Blippar, leaders in augmented reality, means that readers with the AR app get access to exclusive content or shoppable links, and advertisers have the benefit of tracking conversion. Currently it’s standing at a 10% conversion for readers to engage in this way, and Goodwin’s efforts are being directed into raising this figure to above 50%.

This week Blippar announced it has raised $45 million in funding, to help its lead the charge for visual search engines in a physical world. And it seems to be getting somewhere, since its acquisition of main rival Layar in 2014, the company now has a global user base of over 50 million people with over 1.5 billion blippable interactions.

Company founder and CEO Ambarish Mitra, states there are many opportunities with visual search, particularly education, healthcare and charities. “This funding brings us closer to our ultimate goal of creating a new kind of cognitive behavior,” he says, “one that enables us to instantaneously access information and content directly from any of the physical objects or collateral in the world around us.”

This is something that Drafted will be working with Blippar on too, in the future, turning not just pages into portals for more access to information, but the whole products themselves.

But the behaviour is still a nascent one, and will Gen Y growing up consuming content on smartphones, this magazine seems more of a nostalgic luxury.