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NDTV launches SMS service for live content

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | July 09, 2008
The MiSMS service will lead users from SMS to NDTV's mobile portal and will provide news and information about stocks and cricket

NDTV & #BANNER1 & # Convergence, the new media arm of NDTV Networks, has announced a free service on SMS in partnership with mobile technology company July Systems. NDTV will use July's trademark mobile Internet platform, Mi. The service, called MiSMS, will enable mobile phone users to access live multimedia content on mobile Internet via SMS.

Users can get the latest news stories, videos, stocks and cricket scores by sending an SMS to NDTV's short code. In return, they will get an SMS with a link which will lead them to the content on GPRS. The content is hosted on NDTV Active, NDTV's existing mobile portal. Users will be able to read complete news stories, download news videos, search for stock quotes and get cricket updates.

Stocks on MiSMS
Addressing the media at the launch, Rajesh TS Reddy, co-founder and president of July Systems, said that while NDTV Active is for people who access information through GPRS, MiSMS is for people who don't access GPRS. Reddy said there are 106 million GPRS enabled mobile phones in India, though most of these customers do not use the GPRS service or even know about it.

Reddy talked about Mobile 2.0, which, he said, refers to user-centric, personalised and live mobile content. Users also participate in the news portal by sharing a story with friends, writing a comment, participating in a poll, or rating a story.

Sanjay Trehan, chief executive officer of NDTV Convergence, says that in the next phase, users will be able to upload videos as well.

Trehan adds, "There is a shift of balance of power in the hands of the consumer. Now, the consumer is able to demand content instantly."

The content will be available for free except for the data access charges of the operator. July will provide ads targeted according to location, content and the profile of the user. Ads will be presented in the form of banners, videos and contextual text ads (based on the surrounding content). Ireland's tourism board, MakeMyTrip, American Express and Kingfisher are advertising on the mobile portal.

Speaking about the company's expectations from its mobile services, Trehan says, "We are targeting $1 million (Rs 4.3 crore) in revenue, which will comprise about 15 per cent of our total revenue."

Trehan tells afaqs! that NDTV Active receives about 15,000 visitors a day and the company hopes to increase that to 1,00,000 visitors in six months. He adds that NDTV Convergence is also launching "mobile specific products", which will be announced in the coming months.