01 Apr 2016 12:16 IST

ITC’s Classmate notebooks to get interactive

Augmented Reality app will convert cover into a puzzle or game to play

Your notebooks are about to get interactive. The paper ones, that is. ITC, which makes the Classmate brand of notebooks, is developing an Augmented Reality technique by which scanning the cover image through a third-party app will convert it into a puzzle or a game to play. They will be launched in about three months, says Shailendra Tyagi, who took over recently as CEO of ITC’s Education and Stationery Products Business. Tyagi sees notebooks as the only FMCG which afford manufacturers “the liberty of changing their face or packaging every time”. To thrill as well as educate, the company is now putting laminated figures and holographs of various personalities and subjects on the covers with some information on them inside. “Earlier, information in the books was random, now it’s linked to what’s on the cover,” he says.

For instance, a book with a cricketer on the cover talks about some techniques of the game on the last page, or if it’s a Mickey Mouse cover, relates some facts about the Disney cartoon figure. ITC has tied up with Disney to use the cartoon characters on book covers.

The stationery division is also developing a line of notebooks that portray national monuments on the cover. These will not be priced higher than the current ones, says Tyagi. “These are more expensive to produce but price-wise it will be the same, for the consumer it’s no difference,” he explains.

In another effort at customer delight, ITC has run ‘Design a Cover’ competitions among students. In the future, it may, with permission from the winners, put their photos on the back cover, says Tyagi.

The stationery market is estimated at ₹8,500 crore in India, and growing at 4-5 per cent annually. ITC has been outpacing the industry growth by far, says Tyagi. ITC says its business accounts for ₹1,500 crore and 90 per cent of this comes from the Classmate range.

The company claims it has a 22-23 per cent share of the notebook market, with Navneet coming next at 6.5-7 per cent.

PaperKraft is ITC’s premium brand of stationery, which it is targeting at working professionals such as IT employees and graphic designers or anybody who still loves to write instead of punching a keyboard. High-end note pads of varying sizes, often with coloured paper, mark this range. ITC has withdrawn from the copier paper business as it has become a commoditised business, adds Tyagi.