Sports Illustrated’s First AR Issue Brings The Struggle Of Climbing Mount Everest To Life
The issue is a preview of how print publications may choose to stay relevant in the digital era
Sports Illustrated is trying to breach the gap between paper and digital with its first interactive issue, which enables users to unlock digital content by scanning selected images and pages in the magazine. The multimedia component was produced by AOL’s RYOT Lab dedicated to branded AR/VR, with some technology help from Verizon Labs.
The experience makes magazine’s pages come to life without the use of QR codes, instead using image recognition software to ensure smoother user engagement. Readers can access the additional content through the LifeVR app.
The issue’s cover story Capturing Everest features amputee Jeff Glasbrenner’s and cancer survivor Lisa Thompson’s incredible expedition. The story is accompanied by a four episode VR experience which further illustrates their journey.
In addition, an article on new Chicago Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky is complemented by a video of a film session with the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL draft. Even the Coors Light advertising on the front cover flap activates AR content.
“This is the first large-scale test of [this technology],” RYOT co-founder and CEO Bryn Mooser told Variety. “It can really bridge the divide between print and digital.” “This is not putting our work in a Hololens, but in people’s phone,” he added. This is the first one in what could become a staple in Time Inc’s magazines, as more titles are expected to be equipped with AR-enabled content.