Advertising: Golf Digest, other titles eye scannable print ads for smartphones


It's a tough time to be in the magazine business. Circulation has steadily declined since 2005. Advertising plunged 21 percent in the first half of the year. Online display advertising, one of the few media sectors to show growth during the period, gained just 6.5 percent, according to TNS Media Intelligence. And just today, Condé Nast said it's closing Gourmet and three other magazines.

Magazine publishers won't sit idly by and watch their subscribers -- and advertisers -- migrate online. Several publications, including Woman's Day, are incorporating new advertisements that allow readers to "snap" photos of bar codes with their smart phones, which may enter readers into a sweepstakes or send them free samples and product coupons. It's not the first time print publications have sought to capture some online magic. Early versions of the service failed to entice readers because, rather than offering something new, they merely linked to URLs, according to MediaWeek.