All India Radio (AIR) has finally launched the SMS-based news service which will enable subscribers to access important news over their mobile phones. The move comes by AIR after announcing the service in July this year. Launched by the Minister for Information & Broadcasting Manish Tewari on Monday, the AIR news headlines service is free for users across India.
In order to start the service, users have to SMS “AIRNEWS <space> their name” to 08082080820 or give a missed call to same number. According to reports, the service was started as a pilot project six months ago and has gathered over two lakh subscribers. Hence, it is now being launched for the public at large and intends to gather a 5-lakh subscriber base by the month end.
Every SMS will constitute the top 3 news headlines along-with an advertisement tag. The free messages will include a current news headline up to 100 characters in length and some advertisement related content within the same message. This message will be sent to subscribers thrice a day. “The resource generated through such public utility scheme will enable the News Services Division of AIR to bear the cost incurred towards generating such SMSes,” said an official statement.
Earlier in June this year, Prasar Bharti announced its plans to launch mobile applications for Doordarshan (DD) and All India Radio (AIR) that will provide news and entertainment on mobile and tablets. Meanwhile, AIR has already launched a All India Radio News app on android for smartphone users.
I personally feel that although the initiative about free news via SMS is good, it does fall short on number of news sent per day. I mean only three news article a day is not enough in today’s fast paced life. But, then again the AIR service is majorly targeted for feature phone users living in small cities and town for whom the alerts might be quite helpful.