I don’t get it. Why aren’t newspapers more excited about QR codes?

These are codes you can scan with a smart phone to directly access a web page. Within a couple of years over 50% of all phones will have this ability. The following video explains it better than I can; you need to watch 2 mins 30 to get the full force of it:

The contrast between static and dynamic content is unavoidable.

Now here’s a whole medium (video) that newspapers ceded to a competitor (television) after WWII in America and in Australia in the late 1950s. Billions of dollars in ad revenue departed print in search of more compelling advertising. But HOLD THE PHONE.

Smart phones now return the video advantage to print because you can scan a newspaper ad (for example) to access the advertiser’s video content. You don’t have to be sitting in your lounge room; you can be at the breakfast table or a coffee shop or an office desk. And print is the ONLY MEDIUM that can offer this. So Australian newspaper companies are right on to this. Right? Right?



  1. But who is going to have the newspaper in the first place to scan? I can imagine approximately zero people scanning a newspaper with a phone. You’d look like a plonker. If youre the type to have that capable a phone, wouldn’t you already have got every that link 2 days previously through twitter or facebook?

  2. OK, I’m a plonker. Re self-consciousness, most people read papers at home. When mobile phones came out did you say no-one will ever use one of those evil things in public? I probably did.

    On current trends, 50% of people will have a smartphone by 2013.

    Re the links, aggressive users of twitter are a small minority. fb bigger of course but I suspect there are less web links there, depending on your friends’ profiles. Newspapers are meant to source the best, most relevant content. Since this will allow them to compete with TV (in terms of rich content), it would make sense for them to start producing more video.

  3. QR codes are something we started using in my office on my insistence three years ago. We have a vision impaired staff member and by placing a qr code on the same place on the spine of each file she can use her smartphone to identify the file she requires. So cheap and simple a solution.

  4. Clever! Multiple uses for that technology; working on one now. Thanks for the comment!

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