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Bauer Media’s Grazia and heat magazines go shoppable using image recognition

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Bauer Media, part of the privately-owned Bauer Media Group, has announced a partnership with Phuzion Media, that allows its print titles to become fully interactive and instantly shoppable.

The new technology avoids the need for QR codes or watermarking and instead relies on mobile image recognition, directing readers immediately to specific online content and ‘extending their customer journeys’. Because of the use of image recognition technology, editorial staff will not have to change print magazine layouts or creative.

The image match functionality also helps brands circumnavigate search engines, combining direct customer access with previously unavailable engagement metrics, personalization opportunities and the ability to create connected campaigns across multiple platforms.

The technology will be activated in the June issues of Grazia and heat, published next Monday, 17th May. A spokesperson for Bauer declined to say which advertiser brands would be participating in the launch issues, but added that if the partnership was successful the technology could be rolled out to other titles within the Bauer portfolio of print titles which include Bella, Bike, Empire, TV Choice, and others.

Clare Chamberlain, Group Commercial Director, London Magazines, Bauer Media says, “This new partnership marks yet another step forward for us in innovating our publishing portfolio, offering fresh and relevant ways for our commercial partners to connect with their audiences.”

Julian Linley, Partner and Director of Phuzion Media, says, “Creating seamless shopping experiences straight off the page is what consumers and advertisers expect so we’re proud to be teaming up with Bauer Media and power this new experience for their readers. Applying our white-label mobile image recognition technology to these iconic titles will unlock new revenue streams for Bauer, add significant new value to advertisers and commercial partners, and create a more connected content ecosystem with their highly engaged audiences.”

Keeping print alive

Founded in 2020 and privately-held, Phuzion Media’s board consists of a veritable A-list of UK media heavyweights including the above-quoted Julian Linley (ex-Business Development Director at Hearst and ex-Editor-in-Chief of and heat); Jude Secombe (ex-Managing Director of E-Commerce, Hearst); and Alan Brydon (ex-CEO of Outsmart, the Out of Home industry’s trade marketing body).

Phuzion Media Co-Founder and Director, Stefano Biondi, says that the company is in negotiations with another large UK publisher as well as a number of Sunday newspaper titles, adding, “We look on ourselves as very much on the side of media owners and advertiser brands, both on the buy and sell-side. Our technology empowers media owners to activate their ad estate fully in a top-down way.”

Biondi also stresses that the technology has been developed in a manner that is seamless for both publishers and consumers, negating the need for app store downloads, saying, “Our tech is a white-label widget that can be branded to the publisher’s style guidelines. It’s a super-lightweight onboarding for the reader and a super-lightweight integration for the publisher.”

The partnership comes as recent Bauer Media research found that 11% of people surveyed said that they were now reading more magazines than they were last year prior to the pandemic. With people shopping online more, and ‘80% agreeing that technology has made shopping online easier’, Bauer feels its shoppable technology aligns with these new consumer shopping habits.