As per the new directive by the Department of Telecommunication (DoT) that requires a prefix ‘5’ to be added to any short code, Indiatimes’ mobile VAS brand 8888 is now 58888. This change has been effective first week of September.
The 8888 brand had begun as an SMS-based VAS content portal, a first in the country. But in the rapidly burgeoning mobile market, it expanded across five spaces that included SMS, WAP, voice, on-device applications and CRBTs.
Assuring consumers of the best services with this change, Dinesh Wadhawan, CEO and MD, Times Internet Ltd, said, “Indiatimes 8888, henceforth known as Indiatimes 58888, will continue to be led by innovations to deliver differentiated product offerings that are based on consumer needs and category developments. We will continue to bring out new services to fulfill all types of needs of mobile consumers. The transition to the new number has been smooth and hassle-free; rather, we have gained traffic.”
The Indiatimes mobile VAS brand was uniquely placed within the Indian telecom VAS market space as the one of the largest content creator, aggregator and distributor that specialises in information, utilities and entertainment. The company claims to have the highest brand recall among telecom content providers in the country and boasts of a total customer base of nearly 25 million. Also, being operator-agnostic, it is accessible to the entire mobile subscribers of 175 million mobile users across the country.
Indiatimes Mobile handled the brand transformation through an effective 3-D communication that went on air to ensure smooth consumer interactivity with the most popular mobile short code without any dissatisfaction. The campaign is aimed at ensuring visibility across the country through a comprehensive communication encompassing press, online, PR, wireless and on-ground activities. The government directive was turned into an advantage, with a six-ad communication campaign themed around adding the prefix ‘5’ to 8888. Indiatimes took this opportunity to show how adding ‘5’ to the short code actually made accessing personalised information better and more powerful, through the campaign that is youthful and cheeky.
This has resulted in almost zero complaints and has retained the confidence of both the mobile operators and mobile consumers across the country; while, on the other hand, competitive brands have seen a downside of 20-25 per cent decline in traffic with the change.