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Channel 4 marries print and mobile via augmented reality

British broadcast network Channel 4 has rolled out an application to let fans of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver interact with cookbook content through their handsets.

The Jamie?s 15-Minute Meals app is available for free download from the British version of Apple?s App Store. The app is powered by Aurasma.

?People still love print, but the challenge is they're being drawn away by the interactive, real-time content that Web and mobile offer,? said Tamara Roukaerts, head of Marketing at Aurasma, London.

?One of the great things about augmented reality is that for the first time, it offers people the chance to have best of all worlds ? print, digital and mobile,? she said. ?We think augmented reality is the first digital technology to actually support print, rather than cannibalize it.?

How it works
Channel 4 is using the app as a companion guide to Jamie Oliver?s new book and television show.

Users can open the app and hover it above the recently-launched ?Jamie?s 15-Minute Meals? to unlock content for 116 dishes in the cookbook.

Calls-to-action inside the app show users how to use their mobile devices with the app.

Scanning a mobile device over a page brings up a digital meal card that includes ingredient and nutritional information. Users can also set calendar reminders to watch the TV show via the app.

Other behind-the-scenes video content can also be unlocked from the app. For example, users can preview clips from 80 meals that the chef will feature on his TV show.

The Jamie?s 15-Minute Meals app

Mobile meals
With more consumers relying on their mobile devices for everyday tasks such as cooking, an app is a great way to bring print cookbook content to life.

Additionally, by incorporating the technology to build hype around both a TV show and a cookbook, the app serves as a way to connect the multiple mediums of the Jamie Oliver brand.

There is also a growing interest from marketers to use companion apps for content, as long as the app delivers a strong value proposition for consumers.

?Mobile augmented reality allows us to add totally new functionality to print, a medium that's more than 500 years old,? Ms. Roukaerts said.

?Printed images can now become interactive videos and digital points of purchase, text can be transformed into download links, online comments can be shown in real time around printed articles,? she said.

?As mobile processing power increases, our technology will continue to scale with it meaning we can deliver even more immersive and complex experiences around print. We're just beginning to scratch the surface of what's possible.?  

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York