How One Newspaper Is Using Mobile

Gail Chiasson, North American Editor

The National Post, one of Canada’s two national newspapers, is using 2D bar code technology to link readers from stories in the print edition to the paper’s mobile site.

By snapping a photo of a 2D bar code, found on the pages of the newspaper, via their iPhone, Blackberry or other smart phone equipped with downloaded free ScanLife software, readers looking to dig deeper on a particular story can link directly to the latest information to get more context, analysis, related stories and content.

National Post is the first newspaper in Canada and, possibly North America, to offer this service. At the moment, only the daily’s A section is equipped with bar codes, but the rest of the paper is gradually being equipped.

And that’s only the beginning. Jonathan Harris, National Post’s vice-president of digital media, says that the technology is ready for similar bar codes to be inserted into advertisers’ ads, allowing mobile users to reach the advertisers’ Web sites where they can see special promotions and perhaps order tickets or other e-commerce items or services.

“If they want it, we’re ready to do it for them,” says Harris.

“Everything is moving very fast” he says. “The technology allows us to pull people from one medium to another. The bar code makes direct link between two media. The information in the barcode directs mobile browsers to relevant content on the Post’s mobile site.

“When people are reading newspapers, especially our audience strongly composed of business people, they usually have a smart phone with them. This application can send them directly to what they are looking for. “

Harris says that the newspaper’s Web site (National and its Financial combined) is the fastest growing newspaper Web site in North America and is an example of how readership is now dividing between actual newspaper, mobile and Web. National Post’s Web traffic is up 78% for March over a year ago, reaching 1.043 unique visitors. (comScore)

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