Mobile Multi Media - Observer's New Reality

In many parts of the world, pundits speculate if newspapers will survive.  In Jamaica, the Observer is adapting and evolving in an effort to stay relevant.

The evolution has led to the introduction of a redesigned mobile app for iOS and Android devices.  “We wanted to make it fresh, fast and totally interactive,” explained Jamaica Observer’s Head of Advertising, Marketing & Communications, Natalie Chin-Watkins.

Indeed, the new app boasts a new look complete with an image for every news story, loads quickly and is interactive thanks in part to the heavily touted AReality feature.  Short for augmented reality, the Observer app AReality feature pairs bonus content with print, often in the form of video.

Natalie Chin Watkins shows off the Observer Mobile App
Natalie Chin-Watkins shows off the Observer Mobile App
Chin-Watkins noted that, in the process of placing an ad, a client can say they have additional content, include the AReality logo in the ad they place and when readers scan the ad, the additional content is pushed to the device.  “The really cool thing is, you don’t have to scan only from print.  You could scan from a feather banner … you could scan from anything physical,” she added.

The dual benefit of this feature is marrying access to print to sustain circulation and providing additional revenues through advertising.  This is in keeping with the Jamaica Observer business strategy.  “One of the main focuses of the Observer is to continue to build out our print platform.  So everything we do is with the print in mind,” Chin-Watkins elaborated.

Screen grab of Jamaica Observer App
Screen Grab of Jamaica Observer App
With print at its core, the newspaper has expanded to deliver content through many other platforms.  Including the app, the media house boasts a new radio station - Fyah 105.  Also, even more video content is expected, including weekly features thanks to the acquistion of new video equipment and studios.

The multimedia, multi platform roll out is the result of the efforts of an online team churning out content on the back end.  As for the app, it was developed locally over a period of four months by developer Robert Farr.  There is a Blackberry app currently in development and  further updates on the way.

Until then, the app is available free in the App Store or the Android Market.  When asked to comment on the level of success of the new app, Chin-Watkins happily replied, “we are seeing a lot of traction on that platform."

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