CNN International has partnered with Hong Kong based MyClick to launch a new application that uses image-recognition technology to link users to CNN content.
Users who download the MyClick app from cnnmyclick.com to their camera phone can use the app to take a picture of a CNN logo - on a billboard, print ad, brochure, or even direct off a TV screen - after which their phone's browser will be automatically directed to the CNN Mobile web site.
MyClick's technology is already in use in numerous markets across Asia as a 2D barcode type app where users access promotional offers and other information by taking pictures of specially designed MyClick logos on posters and magazine ads.
'There's a lot of image recognition mobile technology in the market, but we wanted a company that had more advanced technology and also had a good team covering Asia,' said Ringo Chan, Vice President of Wireless, Interactive Content, Development and Distribution, Turner International Asia Pacific, said at a press launch on Tuesday.
The CNN MyClick application is currently available in 13 countries in Asia Pacific: Hong Kong, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, South Korea, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and China.
In terms of ease and use and functionality, the app - which currently only supports Symbian and Windows Mobile platforms - serves a similar function to a CNN logo on a mobile deck, although some users who already access CNN mobile content via deck icons may find the ease of use similar enough that it makes little difference. The app itself offers a direct link to content, allowing users to bypass the camera phone scanner option.
Chan said the MyClick app is intended as a complement to its current strategy of working with handset makers to pre-install links on phones.
'It's an add-on service to us,' he said. 'It's not intended to replace deck icons. It's just another way to encourage people to use their handsets to access our content and drive traffic to our mobile web site.'
Chan added that the MyClick won't generate any new revenue for CNN for the time being, although he said that 'we wouldn't rule out bringing ads into it in the long run.'
That said, Chan said that tying up with an image-recognition technology provider could also lead to more added value, such as clicking on an image of Barack Obama to access the latest news stories about President-elect.