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House Beautiful enhances print experience via digital watermarks

House Beautiful is keeping up with its tech-savvy readers and  engaging them with digital watermarks that bring a static page to a new dimension.

The digital watermarks first appeared this summer and will show up at least five times throughout House Beautiful?s October issue. Smartphone users can scan the digital watermarks using the Digimarc Discover app to launch videos and other content.

?Most QR codes look like digital barnacles on the pages of a magazine,? said Newell Turner, editor in chief of House Beautiful, New York. ?They disrupt, some would even say destroy, the visual experience of the printed page.

?The beauty of our Digimarc program is that the QR code is basically invisible,? he said. ?It?s embedded in the image or even behind the text on the pages of the magazine.

House Beautiful is published by Hearst Magazines and is a leading publication on American home design and decoration. It reaches more than seven million readers every month.

A deeper look
House Beautiful is developing an icon that it will alert readers to scan a page for additional content.
The magazine is also adding an additional table of contents page specifically to identify and list all the Digimarc links in an issue.

Readers will also find information on where to download the free app and how to use it.

?Each link will be an opportunity to expand the experience of or take the reader deeper into particular content,? Mr. Turner said.

House Beautiful tested the digital watermarks in its July/August issue ? it  appeared on a full spread photograph of room.

A caption at the bottom told readers how to use their mobile phones to access additional content.

Readers who scanned the digital mark were taken to a video of the designer talking about what did in the room.

In the September issue Mr. Turner?s editor?s letter, when scanned, will launch a video of him sharing thoughts and behind-the-scenes details about the issue.

?Digital watermarks help to build a deeper level of engagement with the reader/consumer from print,? said Jeri Owen, vice president of marketing at Digimarc, Beaverton, OR. ?They unite print, mobile and digital initiatives in a cohesive way and help to deliver a range of enhanced content where and how the consumer wants.

?In the case of House Beautiful, digital watermarks provide a stylish solution for readers to interact with articles, photos, and learn more about their favorite designers without ever leaving the magazine,? she said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York