All India Radio, India’s public sector radio service and one of the largest broadcasting organizations in the world in terms of the number of languages of broadcast, has announced plans to launch SMS based news service, according to a TOI report.
The SMSes will be purely news based and will carry the latest 3-4 news headlines to SMS subscribers of the service. AIR will monetize these SMSes by way of advertisements. Every SMS will have an advertisement tag at the end that will bring in revenues for AIR.
The news headlines will be given about 100 characters in the SMS, while 60 characters will be allocated to the advertisements. Also, these news bases SMSes will be send thrice in a day.
AIR plans to tie up with a third party company to generate, maintain and store the database of registered users for this service.
According to the report, AIR has obtained permission from TRAI to send these messages in bulk under the transactional messages category.
It is clear that this SMS service is targeted towards rural Indians. We do not think even fraction of urban Indians would be interested in subscribing to this SMS service, even though it comes to them for free. They already have many other sources through which they can get news coverage, which is more local and easily accessible to them.
The question is – Whether rural Indians will subscribe to this service?
In our opinion, very few will actually go for it, unless AIR provides localized news service. The SMSes will not only have to be local, but will also have to be in their own local language.
Although, no such specifics have been given, from what we can gather, it will be a centralized news SMS service. And, if that’s the case it may not be too appealing to majority of rural Indians.
What’s your take on this?