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BBC on how its Indian Election messaging pilot worked on WhatsApp & WeChat

Users liked the immediacy of news content popping up on their phone but wanted more granular ability to choose what content they receive, writes BBC World Services & Global News Apps Editor Trushar Barot on the lessons learnt from its Indian Elections messaging pilot. Earlier in April this year, BBC News had launched a pilot (or an editorial experiment as the company calls it) through which it was pushing out audio bulletins and other updates related to Indian elections via WhatsApp, WeChat and BBM.  On WhatsApp, BBC setup an account and invited users to send a message to a specific mobile number to subscribe to the service. Subscribed users were then put on a "broadcast list" wherein they received upto three updates a day, in both Hindi and English. These included audio & video clips and daily text bulletins. On the election day, BBC transformed it into a live breaking and analysis service, sending more than 20 items to subscribers on the day. This included breaking news alerts and analysis from correspondents in its Delhi bureau. It also apparently used cartoons and humorous viral videos. On WeChat, BBC took a slightly different approach wherein it sent a single message with bundling all its headlines and story links that users could click to read the story. Users could also choose to read latest stories from various categories like technology, world news and business news which was delivered through RSS feeds from its site. WhatsApp most engaging but requires lot more work Elaborating on the learnings from this experiment, Barot said that WhatsApp offered the most direct engagement with the…

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