Dreamworks Uses AR to Boost DVD Sales

Andy Penfold

Dreamworks has demonstrated an application of Augmented Reality (AR) that it hopes will garner interest in the DVD market. As sales wane in the face of digital movies, Dreamworks has employed an AR campaign for the DVD release of animated comedy Megamind.

Unveiled during Qualcomm CEO Paul E Jacobs's opening keynote at the Uplinq 2011 show in San Diego, the campaign allows a user to point their mobile phone at the cover of the Megamind DVD packaging. The AR app recognises the DVD, and turns the cover into a trailer for the film. The trailer plays as though the cover is a screen, so as users move the packaging around, the viewing angle changes. 

John Batter, co-president of production at Dreamworks, says that there has been a 25 per cent decline in DVD sales since 2005. "For us, AR is a potential solution. We're talking about using AR as presale programme for the DVD,"  he says.

Dreamworks is also using AR for the Kung Fu Panda 2 launch. The app is downloadable via a QR code on advertising for the DVD (the QR code looks rather like a panda). It also allows shoppers to take pictures with graphics from the movie laid over the image, such as a panda creeping up behind the person in the foreground. It also lets users watch a 20-minute short about the film, which is delivered to the phone immediately. 

The idea is to give shoppers the incentive to use retail channels to buy physical DVDs. The app would give users the chance to buy in store, and allows the DVD to be paid for on the phone.

"We are so excited to be bringing augmented reality to the mass market," says Batter.

In his keynote address, Paul E Jacobs opened Uplinq with considerable fanfare, and took the opportunity to talk up the importance of mobile in every area of modern computing. 

"Mobile apps have the potential to reach hundreds of millions of people," he says. "Mobile is now the dominant computing platform and it's never going back. Computing as we knew it is forever changed."