| 6 hours ago
Last week’s issue of Time magazine is the first edited by a guest editor in its 94 years of existence. It’s also the first issue to feature augmented reality activations—four of them, all on the issue’s theme of optimism. They include an interview with guest editor Bill Gates by Time’s Nancy Gibbs, an animated infographic on the global gender gap in education by contributor Bono, a video of the cover subject, Mohamad Nasir, and a behind-the-scenes featurette showing how the issue was made, all accessible with Time’s Life VR smartphone app.
It’s a forward-looking approach by the flagship title at Time Inc., recently acquired by Meredith, which has made its own investments in VR. But is it a one-off novelty, or a part of the future integration of digital and print? Under what conditions can AR scale? And what are the implications for publishers and marketers?
According to Mia Tramz, managing editor of Life VR, and Claire Howorth, assistant managing editor of Time, the original impetus to include AR in this issue came from Bono, who wanted his contribution to have an AR or VR component. But the team, which includes the third-party Ryot Labs, had already been brainstorming ideas for over a year, since they had produced a “Capturing Everest” feature for Sports Illustrated. A single AR activation quickly became four.
“We’ve published about 23 or 24 VR projects since we launched Life VR last year,” Tramz said. “In the
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