SMS: Boosting TV Viewership … Making $$$

From PoynterOnline: SMS on iTV Generating Millions

The use of SMS (cell-phone text messaging) to make broadcasting more interactive is growing, generating millions in revenue, say industry players in South Africa. Tracy Burrows on ItWeb reports that South Africans are increasingly using premium SMS messages to interact with TV and radio programs, including entering competitions. At rates of between R1 (about $0.16) and up to R30 (about $4) per SMS, depending on the value of the content or offer, the new trend is generating millions for local media players.

How many of you would use this kind of service?

Richard Fyffe, general manager for interactive of local satellite pay TV network MultiChoice, says there has been “explosive growth” in the use of telephony in interactive TV throughout Africa. He says that the “168-characters of fame” concept, in which a viewer can post a message to live TV (for example, displayed in a scrolling bar at the bottom of the screen) by simply sending an SMS, is booming. Recent surveys, he notes, show that SMS interactivity could boost TV show ratings by up to 20 percent.