Publishers have long sought ways to successfully integrate online offerings with their dead-tree siblings. And today, the Montreal Gazette is debuting a service from Montreal-based media tech firm Cmore Media that hopes to provide both publishers and advertisers a new tool for an old medium.
Appearing next to select articles and ads in the Gazette print edition and, starting on April 13, the Calgary Herald, will be a Cmore icon and a short code (basically a short phone number). Readers can text the short code to be e-mailed a link that will provide additional content related to the print article or advertisement, for free.
Readers can also save their links on a personal page at MyCmore.com. Cmore founder and Media Experts CEO Mark Sherman said the links will not only enhance the reader experience but also provide publishers and advertisers with previously inaccessible data.
“Publishers don’t have any feedback in real-time of what their readers are reading or interested in,” said Sherman, who started Cmore last June. “This tool gives them a feedback mechanism to find out what stories interest their readers. Similarly, advertisers have a plethora of metrics available to them in the online world, but not in the traditional world. There’s readership data but little or no data of a magazine or newspaper ad, specifically by interested parties. That type of measurement is invaluable to an advertiser to optimize their media investment.”
While QR and bar codes have been heavily used in Europe and Asia, Sherman said the technology and user-habits in the Canadian market made short codes the way to go.
“We took a long hard look at all the technology out there that would enable us to put hyperlinks in traditional media,” he said. “We’re restricted by the fact that camera phones aren’t ubiquitous and all of the phones require a software download for the phone to be able to read a bar code, which is a pretty big hoop for a user to jump through. Once that happens, our service will use both bar codes and QR codes. We chose short codes because virtually every mobile phone in Canada can send a text message.”
Certainly anything that will further engage readers and give marketers more reason to invest their media spend in print will make publishers happy.
Advertisers, meanwhile, will welcome the chance to instantly push interested readers directly to their own sites from a print ad.
But it’s yet to be determined whether enough readers will be willing to take the extra steps of texting in and clicking a link for more content. That’s what this pilot project with the two Canwest dailies aims to determine.
Sherman bets it will breed consumer familiarity with short code use and create enough interest that will provide advertisers and publishers with another effective audience measurement tool.