6.15.2011

WXIA TV Atlanta uses QR Codes

WXIA TV Atlanta recently announced the use of QR Codes during their Daily 11 @ 7 news broadcast. The idea is that for every story broadcasted during the news program, a QR Code graphic will be displayed in the lower right-hand corner of the television screen. When the code is scanned, viewers will be able to link to a web page that offers additional information about the associated news story.
 
While it's great to offer viewers additional news information about a particular story, I question WXIA's use of QR Codes to accomplish this for one simple reason, how will the station inform viewers about the codes during the broadcast? By this, I mean, how will a viewer know what to do with the code if there is no on-air explanation or set of instructions? Or, will there be?

Over the past few days, I have seen stories about the use of 2D barcodes on television, but I am just not convinced that this is the right medium for the technology. Any takers?

5 comments:

  1. I for one love the idea, but I'm a QR geek. I think that the idea will work better in Atlanta than most places as we're tops in geeky social media, but the idea of scanning a TV screen is a little weak. I hope it works for them and I applaud the effort. As a big tester I'd say go go go. Test and evaluate.

    As for explaining it, I would not put any energy into that. People are figuring it out on their own. This is easy compared to tweeting and that turned out pretty good.

    The fact that it will be on the screen for a while is key I think, giving us time to scan it. Duncan Hines awesome QR commercial is too quick to scan without a Tivo/dvr. [see their FB page if you havent seen the commercial.]

    Thanks for bringing the story. I may actually watch some news for a while.

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  2. AnonymousJune 16, 2011

    There is no absolute when it comes to yes/no for using QR via the television screen. As with all QR, it comes down to the "why?"

    If there's a good reason and it is contextually relevant while providing a great experience - cool.

    We know that a large number of people have their mobile devices with them while watching television. We can best-guess that it is for communication via text fulfilling the constant need to be connected.

    I agree with @Randy, that there is no point trying to teach anyone about "how to" use QR via television. They'll figure it out on their own if there is something worth accessing. There simply isn't time on television to address the uninitiated.

    For accessing in-depth news? This is probably a poor application of sending someone to mobile, where people don't read anything that is text-heavy. A URL to the Station where I can access on a laptop makes more sense.

    But, there are applications that could make sense if they are specifically mobile. Allowing people to access mobile coupons they can take with them to a store or restaurant is the most simple format.

    I do think this is all more gimmick than establishing a new consumer behavior. If businesses get less than a 1% of Share of the market engaging, is it worth the added effort to connect the two screens?

    This is all precursor to widgetized interactive television, where the mobile device (and QR codes) will not be needed. At best, it's a temporary measure that won't make anyone much money and isn't worth counting on for the long term.

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  3. Randy: Thank you for the comment. The point I agree with the most is the testing. If it works, great. If it doesn't work, that's fine too in the sense that the company put a meaningful effort behind it and discovered that it was not for them and/or its viewers. Rarely is marketing an absolute success right out of the gates. Test, evaluate, refine. Repeat and repeat.

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  4. Anonymous: Thank you for the comment. I agree with your opening statement re: the why. More than anything else, this is what marketers need to pay attention to. All else follows suit.

    With respect to this particular application, I am curious to know how this campaign rolls out and is accepted. Will we see codes on Daily 11 @ 7 a month, six months or year from now?

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  5. I hope that there are some fascinating opportunities to segue from linear television to interactive mobile engagement.

    Making sure it's engaging and valuable to the viewer on their couch, as you convert them to becoming an interactive participant, is the challenge.

    I've given this area a lot of thought over the past year since it's a natural place for our conversational mobile tools to be applied.

    But I found myself discouraged today when I saw ScanLife's Tweet about their Daily Show QR Code receiving 4500! scans(exclamation mark theirs) the other night.

    A quick Nielsen check shows that The Daily Show has an average of 2.3 Million viewers. 2/10s of 1 percent scan rate? On a show with a demographic that skews toward a heavy percentage of smart phone owners?

    For all the talk of "mainstream," I think it's still very, very early days. Or, maybe converting passive video audiences into interactive mobile participants is a greater challenge than any of us realize?

    Is it the right medium for this technology?

    I'll bet it could work exceptionally well on children's television shows. That might be a better place to start than during the News?

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