Tag Archives: digital newspapers

Newspaper image recognition app Paperboy launches for UK titles

From today you can use the free Paperboy iPhone and Android app to take a photo of newspaper or magazine article and image recognition technology will use the picture to find the digital version of that story. You can then share the digital article via social media or save to the app’s library, or to note taking and archiving platform Evernote.

The Guardian, Telegraph, Times and Independent are among over 100 UK titles to be searchable via a mobile phone photo. There are also plenty of local titles involved, such as the Yorkshire Post, Kent Messenger and Sunderland Echo.

“We bridge the gap between print and online”, Tom Desmet, marketing manager of Kooaba, the Swiss start-up specialising in the image recognition technology behind the app, told Journalism.co.uk, speaking of his high expectations for the app.

In a way it has the potential to revolutionise the newspaper business for both the reader and the publisher.

The technology was first introduced in Switzerland and last month was enabled for German and Austrian newspapers and magazines, following a partnership deal with digital news distributers NewspaperDirect. The UK, US and Canada today (Tuesday, 1 November) join the growing list of countries to have photo-searchable titles.

How are people using Paperboy?

The initial Swiss launch a year ago has given Kooaba the opportunity to test the app and discover how people are using it, Desmet explained.

About half of the usage is people who would like to remember a certain article or recipe, 25 per cent is about exploring additional content and the last 25 per cent is about sharing it.

Recipes are doing particularly well, according to Desmet.

We’ve got some magazines that are only doing recipes and people really love to remember those things.

How does the app make money for the company behind it?

There is no charge for smartphone users to download the Paperboy app and the basic package is free for publishers. Adding additional content, such as including videos in a digital article, carries an upgrade fee.

Kooaba earns “a little kick back fee” if a photo referral from the app to NewspaperDirect results in a reader paying for a digital subscription, but the majority of the apps’s earnings are generated by interactive adverts, Desmet explained.

If you take a picture of a page and there is an advert and it’s interactive, you can get additional product information or find the nearest retailer.

How can news publishers make their print editions interactive?

Publishers have two options to make their digital editions available: they can either approach NewspaperDirect or go directly to Kooaba.

All they have to do is upload a PDF of a newspaper every day to our backend and it will be interactive and it doesn’t cost them anything.

How does the image recognition technology work?

Desmet said the company is confident that the technology “works really well” and is almost aways problem-free. He said that stories that are text only and without photos are occasionally not recognised but this “almost never happens and it is something we are working on”.

Kooaba is a world leader in the image recognition field, according to Desmet, who said one of the company’s earlier apps predated Google Goggles, an app that allows you to take a photo of an object and use the picture to search the web.

We were the first to have the visual search, even before Google Goggles was out there, but then they created the same app and we couldn’t compete – so we got into a really specific use case and launched Paperboy.

Paperboy can be downloaded for free from the iTunes App Store and the Android Market. The company is also working to release a Windows phone app.

The Paperboy app can be used to snap and search the following UK titles, according to a list on NewspaperDirect.

Sun Online editor called from across the pond for new digital project

Editor of Sun Online Pete Picton has been enlisted to help launch a “new digital project” at News Corporation in New York, according to a paidContent report.

The project is understood to be part of News Corps’ reported plans to develop a new tablet-only newspaper.

News Corp has already enlisted New York Post executive editor Jesse Angelo to head the project, which seems designed to go nationwide with a mass-market U.S. title on iPad in the same way the Sun has been in the smaller UK for decades.

Picton has been editor of the Sun Online for the past 10 years.

Murdoch’s new iPad newspaper: doomed already?

Predictions are already being made about the potential of Rupert Murdoch’s reported plans to produce a national newspaper available only on the iPad, as we discussed last month.

Over on Tech Crunch Paul Carr doesn’t mince his words, insisting that the concept is “doomed”. It is not about marketing the value of the contents but a simply money-making exercise he says, which is not a long term solution.

Of course the idea is doomed – that much should go without saying. Like so many of Murdoch’s recent forays into paid-for online news, it reflects less a bold strategy to convince a new generation of readers that good journalism is worth paying for and more the 79-year News Corp proprietor’s desperation to keep the cash flow coming until the company’s profitability becomes someone else’s problem.

But what’s remarkable about this current escapade is that Murdoch is actually proposing to sell a product that people have previously failed to even give away for free.

The LA Times, who also ran an editorial on the plans this weekend, added that News Corp is just another news organisation “scrambling to prop up their bottom lines with new sources of revenue”.

The initiative, which would directly compete with the New York Times, USA Today and other national publications, is the latest attempt by a major media organization to harness sexy new devices to reach readers who increasingly consume their news on the go. The development underscores how the iPad is transforming the reading habits of consumers much like the iPod changed how people listen to music.