Augmented Reality applications are the ‘IN’ thing to showcase for Brands. However, this is one concept which Indian Brands are not very keen (or they don’t have the expertise on it yet) to explore. Augmented Reality gives you a real world feel of virtual world and the experience of amalgamating digital elements on to your daily routine. A concept of superimposing virtual content (such as rich 3D graphics) on top of a view of the real world as seen through the phone’s camera.

Sony, in order to promote its niche Comedy Channel SAB TV, has created a new AR application which will help its viewers get closer to their local channel stars and feature with them via the app. Brandmovers is the agency that has developed the app for SAB TV.

The application to start with is too heavy for its use when downloaded from Google Play (close to 30 MB) and that for me is a major drawback of this application (A heavy app like FlipBoard does not consume more than 20 MB for me). The application has been around for more than a month now on Google Play and has received around 5,000 downloads. It has received negative comments on the application size and a supposedly positive review from Harshal Jain (who works at SAB TV by the way) The application has two features for starters:

1. Scan a pic: The augmented reality feature comes in to this part where you can scan calendars, posters, print adverts and billboards for SAB TV shows. The current version works with the SAB AR Calendar 2013. There is no clear instruction as to where we can find the AR calendar or if it can be available online via their website. This can leave consumers (like me atleast) confused and the application can have detailed instructions for newbies in to the augmented reality applications. The feature though is yet to work for me as whenever started it gives me an unexpected closure of the application (The familiar ‘This application has reported an error’ types).

2. Click a pic: You can choose from the predefined templates of your Favorite stars and click a picture to place you with them. The same picture finalized under the form in a TV set can be shared with your friends across Social Networks. The templates are very few to play with and it could have been interesting to have few more choices for each of the characters. Also, the application could have had an option of browsing through the existing photo set instead of always clicking a new picture to have a collaged picture with the stars.

SAB TV Augumented Reality app

How does the app fare?

The augmented reality feature fails to work and the Click a Pic feature is hardly anything worth revolutionary. The application needs a rethink on its strategy and working along with the file size (A 30MB App is a strict NO). The application could have been made more interesting with a treasure hunt type feel by telling the users to scan for missing pieces while watching their favorite shows and thus rewarding them via a gamification system in place. This integrated online-offline strategy could have pulled in more viewers for their shows as well could have hooked the consumers on to the channel during the advertisements duration as well.

The new offering could also have been promoted on brand’s social media channels to rope in their fans from social to mobile. SAB TV is trying to be on mobile with their other offerings like SAB ka Gulgule and SAB ka Gadha androdyfing their famous characters on screen to Mobile. However, their new offering leave something to be desired.

With instances of TV Channels and Print Media going the Augmented reality way to connect more users to this new era of technology, we can expect better quality AR apps in the future. One of the challenges/hindrances for brands would be the cost of the project and the platforms it needs to be upon. AR is a cool concept which can be played with to explore and install this new feature in the minds of the consumers (especially the ones who are tech savvy). Although one hopes brands don’t go for the overkill just for the sake of ‘being in the race’ of Augmented reality and shelling out a mediocre product in the end.

You can download the SAB Play application on Google Play and on Apple Stores.

What do you think of ‘SAB Play’ or augmented reality concept adoption by Indian brands in general? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

Disclosure: Brandmovers is one of Lighthouse Insights’ advertisers.