The advent of wireless communication has given a fillip to the television interactivity in India and Mobile2win, a wireless marketing solutions provider, has been quite active in this field. Started with Sony Entertainment Television in 2003, the company has so far successfully rolled out wireless services for SAB TV, India TV and HBO.
"For Sony, we started with contests and moved on to a method where all shows were accessible through a menu system. One could choose from ringtones, picture messages, wallpapers and even a game around the show. Indian Idol of course was the next big thing to witness the advent of SMS voting in India," said Rajiv Hiranandani, Country Head, Mobile2win.
"SAB TV used our short code to create interactivity with the viewers where one could SMS his opinions and even topics he would like the host to talk about. Similar activity was rolled out for India TV. As for HBO, all the mega movies on the channel are wireless enabled with Mobile2win's short code - 8558. Apart from contests, users who have signed up now receive alerts around their favourite movie. This is a service that will be replicated across other channels as well," he added.
However, 2005 and 2006 will see the true arrival of wireless interactivity on television. Going beyond show menu and downloading content around shows, there is real-time voting and also Game TV. Game TV is a concept where channels will have SMS games on television on non-prime time bands. In the next year or two, games like chess, soccer, car racing etc. could be played on TV just by sending an SMS. "This concept is already executed in Europe and China and will be rolled out by Mobile2win in India in the next 4-5 months. This is a sure shot way of increasing TRP's. So far, operators have been the prime drivers of premium content but now television will take on this task," said Hiranandani.
There are 54 million mobile phone subscribers and the user base is expected to cross 120 million by the end of 2006. In addition, revenues driven from television interactivity in 2004 account for Rs 25 - 30 crore. This clearly defines the popularity and growth prospects of this medium, giving way to innovative ideas.