In Tokyo, an App Aims to Make the Physical Newspaper Relevant to Children

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The Tokyo Newspaper, aka Tokyo Shimbun, and Dentsu Tokyo have created an augmented reality app that “translates” stories from the newspaper into a child-friendly format. Replete with cartoon-character commentary on stories, headlines (pop-ups) and child-friendly text, the app makes it easier for children to understand what’s on the printed page.

The app, which was chosen recently by Ad Age as a Creativity Pick of the Day, provides opportunities for advertisers as well. Companies like yogurt-maker Meiji are placing interactive ads in the paper targeting children and their parents.

The move comes as newspapers worldwide search for new ways to sustain their printed product as readers, especially young ones, become accustomed to receiving their news in the digital space. But while the focus tends to be on attracting millennials and others crucial to the papers’ survival, recruiting even younger readers is also a part of other newspapers’ efforts.[more]

For instance, the French newspaper Mon Quotidien (My Daily), begun in the 1990s as a daily newspaper for 10- to 14-year olds, is now also available for children to read on the iPad.

Other industries have recently appealed to children and their parents by tying together childrens’ physical and virtual worlds. In 2011, Toyota created Backseat Driver, an app that invited children to “drive” along with their parents. Created by the Japan-based consortium Party, Backseat Driver uses the iPhone’s GPS to create fantasy driving routes that mirror the real road. Children “drive” their own vehicle and score points by acquiring objects along the way.

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