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An innovative solution for African broadcasters

05 September 2012

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As TV and radio broadcast markets intensify across several liberalised African countries, broadcasters need to find solutions to get more interactive with their audiences. SMS is one such solution. Amy O'Donnell, Project Manager at FrontlineSMS, a SMS management software, talks how SMS can be a powerful media tool.

Looking at recent audience surveys across the African market, it is obvious that local audience want local content. Indeed, radio and TV operators have responded by increasingly shifting from a one-way broadcast to media that reach audiences by integrating interaction with listeners into programming.

But the lack of communication with the audience and the lack of finances are often major barriers for broadcast organizations working in African countries. Not knowing exactly what people want to watch and listen and not being able to check facts on the field, broadcasters have to find alternative solutions to make their job easier if they want to avoid being eaten up by more powerful competitors. And if broadcasters do not know their audience's program needs, they lose market share together with potential advertisers' revenues.

FrontlineSMS is a text messaging system marketed with these problems in mind. By leveraging basic tools already available to most broadcasters and their audiences -- computers and mobile phones -- FrontlineSMS enables instantaneous two-way communication on a large scale. As parts of its numerous applications, it can facilitate dynamic conversations between radio listeners or TV watchers and broadcasters - whether it is in Africa or elsewhere. It's easy to implement, simple to operate, and best of all, the software is free; you just pay for the messages you send in the normal way.

A common application is for broadcasters to invite listeners to send text messages in response to questions posed on the programme, submit direct concerns, and share commentary. Experience has proved that using incentives is not mandatory if questions are of real importance to the audience. However, incentives to send SMS could include entering a draw, specific rewards, entries to an event or free mobile minutes.

To read full story, click here

Source : allAfrica

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