HP launched a line of web-connected printers last week that allow users to print content directly from the web or send content from their mobile phone to a remote printer using an email address specific to that printer.
HP also launched a program called "scheduled delivery", where a user can regularly schedule printing, for example, portions of a daily newspaper every day at 7am.
The company also sees a potential for localised, targeted advertising to go along with the content. While testing its ePrint web-connected printers, HP ran two trials where consumers received content from a US national music magazine and major US newspaper along with advertisements, said Stephen Nigro, senior vice president in HP's Imaging and Printing Group.
"What we discovered is that people were not bothered by it [an advertisement]," Nigro said. "Part of it I think our belief is you're used to it. You're used to seeing things with ads."
HP's ePrint printers, some of which will become available next month, are connected to the user's home router, which means they will have an IP address. IP addresses can be used to identify an approximate area where the web-connected device is located, opening the potential for targeted advertisements based on location.
"Through IP (Internet Protocol) sniffing, you have an idea about where those printers are so naturally it allows you to kind of already target your offers," Nigro said.
Ads can also be targeted based on a user's behaviour as well as the content, said Vyomesh Joshi, head of the HP's Imaging and Printing Group. The pilot with Yahoo is in its early stages, however, and Joshi said the program has to be done with privacy in mind.
"That's where we need to be very clear business rules in terms of privacy," Joshi said.