Daily newspaper DNA has launched its augmented reality app ‘DNA it’ on Android and iOS smartphone platform. The company claims that the app allows users to interact with the news using mobile phone’s in-built camera. The app has been built by Prisma Global.
The app is compatible with Android version 2.2 and above, and iOS version 4.3 and above. The app opens up in camera mode like any other AR apps. Users need to point the camera to point enabled ‘DNA it’ logo to scan the content. Once recognized, it brings up multimedia content related to the news in the form of videos, slideshows, debates, polls, quizzes, among others.
While we were not able to test the app, it appears that it does not function as intended. Majority of the app reviews mention that the app does not take you to the multimedia content even after several tries. Interestingly, the app has still managed to garner 3.6/5 user rating on Google Play Store.
Besides the AR functionality, DNA it offers tutorials on how to use the app, manage settings, and a utility tab. Through its utility tab one can visit DNA’s mobile website, send letter to the editor, and offers currency converter, stocks, and weather information. There’s basically no synergy between the functionalities. Why would anyone want to convert currency or want stock & weather information while trying to access multimedia content?
We are not quite sure whether DNA thought it through before launching the app. Recently, a lot of newspapers have launched their own AR apps in order to boost engagement with their online properties. DNA it appears to be an me-too app and doesn’t offer any distinguishing feature. Besides, it’s also a tad bit late in launching its AR app. However, we feel DNA got its branding right. By calling the app DNA it, it appears that DNA hopes it brings the virality with it to make it a verb, similar to Whatsapp it for Whatsapp.
The selling point of an AR app is to make digital content easier to discover. It’s not clear whether AR apps launched by other newspapers have managed to do so either. How many people really use AR apps to discover digital content? However, DNA in particular is pretty guilty when it comes to aiding discoverability for its digital content. While it recently revamped its website, it has made it difficult to discover DNA blogs. The blogging section on the DNA website is nowhere linked on its homepage.
In January 2013, HT Media had launched the ARPLus app for the readers of Hindi newspaper “Hindustan” that allows readers of the newspaper to interact with a print medium, for access to rich media content. The app is available for download on Android and iOS platform. In December 2012, The Times of India Group, had launched an Augmented Reality application, christened Times Alive. The same years, Times Internet had also launched Times Intaract, an Augmented Reality app, in partnership with TELIBrahma, which it later pulled out from the Play Store.
In April 2013, mobile advertising solutions company TELiBrahma had tied up with Magna Publishing’s Bollywood film magazine Stardust to integrate its augmented reality platform POINT to Stardust’s March 2013 print issue, to deliver additional content related to featured models. Times Group* also introduced a similar feature to its Bollywood magazine Filmfare, through its Times Alive app.
*Disclaimer: Times Internet is an advertiser with MediaNama.