Norfolk locals trial digital innovation to let readers download the paper

A group of hyper-local newspapers in Norfolk has become the first in the country to trial a new ‘clickable paper’ innovation.

Just Regional, which publishes nine titles in the area, has been given the chance to pilot the scheme developed by technology company Ricoh and local printer Barnwell.

The clickable paper allows readers to interact with content on smartphones and tablet computers uploaded directly from newsprint. The free app can be used by hovering a device directly over a paper and clicking to upload.

Gay Webster, editor of the Just Regional titles, said the paper had used the app since April on both advertising and editorial content.

“The people who have used it so far have really liked it,” she said. “It means they can engage directly with the paper a bit more.”

Readers using the app with advertisements will be able to see up to six options after scanning their devices over a page, including the chance to buy products or services direct.

Ricoh is working out how to price and licence the tool to offer it to other publishers, with the hope that it will help attract print advertisers.

Gareth Parker, strategic marketing manager at Ricoh UK, said the development will offer “a greater range of profitable applications for customers and helps print to retain its position as an important lynch-pin in a complex world of multi-channel communications.”

He added: “Stage one has proved that Clickable Paper is the perfect example of an innovative and meaningful technology that can really work for customers.  We very excited about taking this trial into phase two and seeing how far we can extend its capabilities.”

Julian Barnwell, managing director of Barnwell Print, compared the innovation to the use of QR codes but said it was “a far more intelligent and dynamic product”.

He added: “Clickable Paper enables publications to be used as a portal to direct readers to all kinds of extra information or entertainment.” 

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