A new application of digital watermarking technology for newspapers was one of the novelties of the mediaXchange trade show in Florida.
US developer Digimarc has a first application of its system – in which watermarks generated via a Photoshop plug-in are used to provide a link between printed matter and mobiles – in use in Spain.
After working in Spain with partner aquaMobile and publishers Júbilo and Vocento – and a winery owned by actor Antonio Banderas – the company has launched its technology to deliver rich media experiences to newspaper and magazine readers.
While the system works in much the same way as QR and other printed codes – you scan the code with a mobile phone, which then links to the target URL – the difference with Digimarc is that the watermarks are embedded in photographs or text, and not obvious to consumers.
Indeed, in the tests with ‘Autofacil’ magazine in Spain, the publisher has added a graphic to the page to draw attention to the facility.
A mobile phone app reads the watermark, accessing breaking news, multimedia content or detailed product information. The free Clic2C application decodes embedded data using the phone’s camera.
Jeri Owen, Digimarc’s marketing vice president, says the bridge between physical print and the internet is a step in a vision of mobile phones becoming a 'seeing, hearing, and understanding' device that simplifies access to network services in everyday life.
By embedding a digital watermark into a Anta Banderas wine label, the vintner connects consumers content from the winery, such as virtual tastings, videos, pairings and special promotions.
Vocenta is using the technology for its Extremadura newspaper ‘HOY’, linking readers to content on its www.hoy.es website. The first two features to use the technology were a guide to the ‘murgas’ contest at a local carnival and an update on a marathon there. ‘Vivir con Júbilo’ uses Digimarc connect readers to radio programming, video news segments and pictures.
Digimarc’s watermarking technology is also used by copyright owners to protect their images from unauthorised use, and to generate a revenue stream for publishers.
Pictured: Jeri Owen with the application at mediaXchange in Orlando