November 10, 2009

Interview with Esquire Magazine about Augmented Reality Issue

by Thomas K. Carpenter in augmented reality8 Comments

On TODAY, Meredit Vieira talked with Esquire’s David Granger about their November augmented reality issue.  David shows off the AR portion of the magazine on the show and talks about why Esquire chose to use the nascent technology.

David believes the use of AR helps get people excited about the magazine, enhances its content, but doesn’t fundamentally change the magazine’s purpose.  I agree with the sentiment, but the reported cost of adding AR to the magazine was over $100,000.  If a sustained increase in sales can justify this kind of additional cost on a regular basis, then we might see more magazines taking the plunge and adding AR to their regular content.

However, I don’t see this as a longterm trend because this still doesn’t change the fact that content is regularly free on the Internet and it already has video access.  Bringing people to their computers to view additional content on their webcam is about the same as asking people to go to the Esquire webpage to watch a video.  AR might spike interest in their publication and grab a few more eyeballs temporarily, but AR is not the savior of the print business.


Thomas K. Carpenter

Thomas K. Carpenter is a full time contemporary fantasy author with over 50 independently published titles. His bestselling, multi-series universe, The Hundred Halls, has over 25 books and counting. His stories focus on fantastic families, magical academies, and epic adventures.

  • Thomas,

    I could not agree more that this is a gimmick that will not ‘reinvent’ or save the print industry. Furthermore, if you look at the actual steps you have to take to view the actual video (buy mag, download software, launch webcam) I would actually argue that this will do more damage than good for Esquire’s brand. This is a horrible user experience and I don’t think most of the people talking about it have actually gone through the steps to view it.

    We had an op-ed a few weeks ago on Agencyspy (written by Jack Benoff) outlining the the problems with this execution and how they could have made this a utility based application. Link – http://weareorganizedchaos.com/index.php/2009/11/02/augmented-reality-the-buzzword-du-jour/

    My main problem with all the gimmicky AR getting press right now is that advertising/marketing budgets are going towards AR development. But like most early technologies used in advertising and marketing, it’s being used the wrong way and advertisers/marketers will stop funding AR initiatives once they see little to no ROI against their budget.

    Companies that focus on utility based AR will win out but its frustrating watching all the gimmicks get the attention right now…


  • Matt,

    Jack’s op-ed said it better than I did. I think this problem is something the big old industries have to get used to that content-is-king and selling the medium is so 2006.

    New toys are bright and shiny though, so I think we’ll see a couple of rounds of this type of stuff before people move onto to more useful adaptations of the technology.


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