Star TV has tied up with Buzz, a mobile engagement- platform from TELiBrahma, that will enable Star TV to provide 30-60 sec clips of their channels which include Star TV, Star World, Star Movies, Star Gold, Channel V, among others.

Buzz Platform delivers contextual location based & personalized content and a variety of engagements like the movie listings, music video, deals, branded content etc at ZERO cost to the users.  The company claims that Buzz hotspots are available at 1200 locations across India in places like Café Coffee Day, Barista, malls, supermarkets and more. To connect to BUZZ, users need to turn on their mobile’s Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to receive information, messages and offers free of cost. The company claims that the network  supports a devices like iPhone, Android and feature phones.

Increasingly, companies are looking into the online medium for advertisements for their ability to offer interactive ads. However, TV still remains the most preferred platform for advertisements for its reach. It’s interesting to see a media and entertainment company choosing to partner with an online medium for advertisements. Perhaps the era of online advertisements has arrived?

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Mobile advertising solutions company TELiBrahma has launched its Augmented Reality (AR) app, Point, at the Consumer Electronics Show 2013 held in Las Vegas, Nevada.
While most of the current AR apps work on still images, Telibrahma claims that Point can scan point-enabled videos and provide an interactive experience for viewers. The app is available for download on smartphone platforms such as Android, iOS, BlackBerry, Symbian and Windows Phone. Or users can download the app on their handsets by visiting PointArt.mobi from their mobile browser. While Telibrahma promotes the app as Point, the app is available in all app stores as PointARt, which is really confusing. Updated: Telibrahma informs us that the app is also available on Java Phones. Telibrahma also informs us that Point is the platform name and PointART is the app name.

Note that Telibrahma had previously launched an AR app with The Times of India (TOI) sans the video functionality called intARact. It appears that Telibrahma has re-branded the app as PointART, while ToI moved away from Telibrahma to launch its own AR app – Times Alive.

App Experience: Point opens up in camera mode like any other AR app. Users need to point the camera to point enabled images and videos for the app to scan the content. Once the app recognizes the image or video, it downloads the interactive content on the app screen and gives the feel of superimposing the downloaded content on the app screen with the image it had scanned. However, the downloaded interactive content stays on the screen even if we move the handset away from the scanned image/content.

Since the app can scan and recognize only point-enabled content, we couldn’t test it for scanning video. IntARact provides samples of images at intaract.me. We tried a couple of samples and the app worked satisfactorily. The downloaded interactive content includes videos, detailed information of the product. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S3 promotion we checked out gave us an option to view TVCs, view specs of phone, and images. The app also directs a user to buy the product, if it’s available for purchase. Users can bookmark viewed items or go through their history.

While a lot of firms are coming up with AR applications, we feel many of the recently launched AR apps aren’t necessarily pure AR experience. Recently, ToI launched Times Alive, its AR app, and HT Media had launched ARPlus for its Hindy daily Hindustan readers. However, all the apps, including the Telibrahma’s PointARt, in a way make use of of similar technology used by QR codes, where it searches for data points near the image scanned and brings up related multimedia content. AR on the other hand is supposed to superimpose interactive content on user’s smartphone in real time. A perfect example of an AR application would be the game Mosquitoes available on the iPhone or Nokia City Lens app.

The challenge: 

Point is really an implementation of Quick Response (QR) code, the app can’t be used to point and scan any image or video. It’s upon Telibrahma to decide what a user can scan, which limits the app functionality. Another challenge for the company is that it needs to figure out a way to retain a high install to uninstall ratio for the app. Consumers tend to install such apps for its first time charm and then uninstall it. Either they can tie up with a lot of brands so that users can keep using the app or convert the app into a truly AR app.

We have contacted Telibrahma for a clarification on how exactly the PointARt is an AR app and how it would work with videos since it needs to scan a data points in its current version. Video is about moving pictures and it would be difficult to recognize data points, unless it appears on all frames. Besides, how does Telibrahma plan to place the app in programming and advertising space? It would be difficult for a user to pull out their phone, launch the app and scan the video for the 30 seconds TV commercial. We will update the post once we receive a response from Telibrahma. Update: In an email response to MediaNama, Telibrahma has informed us that they do not plan to work on image recognition for TV commercials. Telibrahma has also sent us demo of the app which can be found here.

Telebrahma has previously worked with brands like Dove, Nokia, Nike and Toyota, and Samsung to deliver interactive experience to their consumers.

Other TELiBrahma Developments: In April 2012, TELiBrahma had partnered with Times Internet Limited (TIL) to deliver IPL video clips to mobile phones at TELiBrahma’s BluFi partner locations including Cafe Coffee Day, Crosswords, Nirulas, Spencers, Barista, Transit Lounges, Malls and select Railway stations. Before this, the company had collaborated with RailTel Corporation Of India to launch BluFi in the Bangalore railway station.

In November 2011, TELiBrahma had raised $5 million from Intel Capital, Inventus Capital Partners, and Ojas Venture Partners and had informed that it intends to use the money raised for global expansion and promotion of its new consumer services based on existing offerings – BluFi and intARact.