Application: Ripley's Believe it or Not
Produced by: Ripley Publishing Ltd. and Conjure
Platform: iOS and Android
Description & Features
● Ripley's Believe it or Not! has released a "container" app which works as a portal to the company's various publications and museums. If that sounds a bit dry—well, this is Ripley's, and the app (developed over the course of a year in partnership with Conjure) is anything but. Users are treated to photo galleries, Ripley's Twitter and Facebook feeds, museum information and (in the near future) downloadable magazines and cartoons. The core of the app's appeal, however, is an Image Recognition (IR) feature dubbed oddSCAN, which Ripley's intends to incorporate into all of its products.
oddSCAN lets users access instant content by holding their smartphones over book pages or physical exhibits containing the oddSCAN logo. The technology gets its debut with the company's latest compendium of the bizarre, "Download the Weird," scheduled for September release. Throughout the book, readers can access enhanced content using the Believe it or Not! app, including videos of a "lizard man" who gave himself a forked tongue, a football player with no legs and the exciting sport of volcano boarding, which involves racing down the rocky upper slopes of active volcanoes on a piece of plywood (don't expect to see this one at the 2016 summer games).
Ripley's produced or acquired the video content as they developed the new annual, according to Anne Marshall, publisher at U.K.-based Ripley Publishing Ltd.
"We sought out subjects worldwide and undertook exclusive photographic, video and interview content," Marshall tells Book Business. "All the videos have been worked on by our U.S. team and all material has been kept under wraps on a dedicated server, protected from any possible early release before book publication."
oddSCAN will be rolled out across Ripley's 32 "Odditorium" museums worldwide in the coming year and will be an important part of future annuals (next year's edition is already in the works). The inclusion of downloadable content encourages users to continue accessing the app even after they've left a museum or finished poring over a particular book, Marshall notes. "There is a content zone within the app that offers downloadable 'appazines' — magazines containing bizarre, extraordinary Ripley content. Our fans can now access regular content throughout the year, in addition to their one-time burst with the annual. The 'appazines' are purpose-made content in magazine format for the phones and tablets."
With new products and tie-ins spanning the company's print, web, social media and museum experiences, the app promises to play a central role for Ripley's going forward. "We have great plans for the future of the app," Marshall says. "This is only the beginning. Exciting times!"