AIR free news SMS service has been taken to discontinue it

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A little less than three years after All India Radio (AIR) launched a free news SMS service, a decision has been taken to discontinue it as it was not proving to be cost effective, an official said.

A senior Prasar Bharati official said a review of the “cost effectiveness” of the SMS service had pointed to the need for its discontinuation as more viable alternatives, like a mobile news app, are available.

“It was felt the cost incurred on this service at Rs. 10 crores per year was quite huge, so we have decided to discontinue it. A lot of people already access AIR news through its mobile app,” the senior official told PTI.

The official added that the AIR website is another digital platform which also provides news.

The SMS service was launched in English on September, 2013, to provide AIR News on mobile handsets free of cost. It had touched a database of several lakh subscribers. Gradually, the SMS service was initiated in many regional languages like Hindi, Marathi, Sanskrit, Dogri and Nepali.

Earlier this year, AIR launched a new channel on its All India Radio Live mobile app for Android, iOS, and Windows Phone platforms. Called ‘Raagam’, it is meant to serve classical music. The channel was launched by Prasar Bharati Chairman Surya Prakash and was to be uplinked from AIR Bengaluru station as it will get regular software updates from 13 other stations of the AIR from across the country.

“Raagam will have specific time bands for archival assets, senior living legends, budding and upcoming artists, auditioned and approved by AIR and will also have programmes on classical music with interpretation and elucidation by musicologists of repute,” Prasar Bharati said.

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