The Big Issue becomes first street newspaper to implement Augmented Reality

| 19. Dec 2018

The Big Issue becomes first street newspaper to implement Augmented Reality

Through a partnership with Konica Minolta, the magazine aims to shine a light on UK homelessness using the AR app; genARate


The Big Issue and Konica Minolta are partnering up to offer readers a new way to access exclusive content through the use of the augmented reality (AR) app, genARate. The first issue of the AR powered magazine will focus on the importance of using ‘Tech for Good’, and will include various in-depth and interactive stories that can only be unlocked through the genARate app.


Focused on how technology can help improve society, the issue will highlight specific organisations and entrepreneurs that are using tech to tackle social problems and ultimately make the world a better place. The issue will also include exclusive video content from ex-Razorlight drummer and Snowman and the Snowdog composer Andy Burrows and Notes On a Nervous Planet author Matt Haig. 


Readers can purchase a copy of The Big Issue from their local vendor during the launch week and can download the genARate app from the Apple App Store and Google Play store at any time for free.


The goal of the partnership is to provide enriched content for readers, improve the lives of vendors through increased sales, and ultimately dismantle the social stigma and common misconceptions around Big Issue vendors. Konica Minolta will also be providing the magazine with support and strategic advice on how to embrace digital transformation. The partnership will ultimately help The Big Issue converge its vital print-based business model with new and innovative digital content, extending its audience reach and its impact in an ever- evolving media landscape.


Ben Sullivan, Digital Editor at The Big Issue, said: “As we continue to innovate and evolve in a digital society, we couldn’t be more excited to partner with Konica Minolta to offer an enhanced magazine for our readers and hardworking vendors.” He added: “The ‘Tech For Good’ special not only shows the ways in which we’re pushing the boundaries of what print magazines can achieve, but also gives readers enhanced insights into the lives of our vendors, as their stories are brought into video and audio right in front of our readers’ eyes.”


The special edition will have AR interactions throughout the publication, including the cover where the story of vendor Ann Warke, 53, who turned to The Big Issue when she couldn’t afford to pay her rent due to losing her job. In order to unlock the exclusive content and bring to life The Big Issue, readers can scan the trigger image, which will be clearly marked with an AR icon, and can experience the hidden stories throughout the issue. In addition to the Jan 7th special edition, The Big Issue will be utilising AR on a bi-monthly basis to continue to provide readers engaging with digital content through the pages of the magazine.


“With homelessness in the United Kingdom at an all-time high, this partnership is a prime example of how businesses, social enterprises, innovation and technology can come together to improve living conditions for the world’s most vulnerable populations,” said Ashley McConnell, partnership founder and International Business Development Manager at Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe.  “By introducing readers to the vendors behind the content, we’re able to open untouched channels and start a conversation around important topics like never before,” said McConnell. “We’re thrilled to provide the technology that can help support such an outstanding social enterprise like The Big Issue.”


To learn more about Konica Minolta AR solutions, visit https://genarate.konicaminolta.eu/


To learn more about Konica Minolta partnership with The Big Issue, visit: https://bit.ly/2A1EKmb


About The Big Issue

  • The Big Issue is a social enterprise which exists to dismantle poverty through creating opportunities for people and communities.
  • The Big Issue is an award-winning weekly entertainment and current affairs magazine, which offers a new hope for homeless and vulnerably housed people across the UK. Vendors buy magazines for £1.25 and sell to the public for £2.50, keeping the difference. In this way the magazine provides them with the means to earn a legitimate income. In the run up to Christmas the magazine increases in size and the price rises to £3.
  • Vendors come from a variety of backgrounds and face a range of issues, but all are experiencing the effects of poverty. Upon becoming a Big Issue vendor they receive training, are allocated a fixed pitch from which to vend, and must agree to adhere to a Vendor Agreement, which governs their conduct whilst selling the magazine.
  • Since its launch in 1991, over 200 million copies of The Big Issue magazine have been sold by over 100,000 vulnerable people. 
  • The Big Issue Foundation is the organisation’s charitable arm, which exists to link vendors with the vital support which will help them address the issues which have led or contributed to their circumstances. The Foundation works exclusively with vendors, offering support, advice and referrals.
  • For further information, please go to www.bigissue.com 

For further information, please contact:

Keith Hau 
Konica Minolta Business Solutions (UK) Ltd 
Phone: +44 (0)7714221751
Email: press@konicaminolta.co.uk