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SMS Voting


-Arjun Gurung

SMS voting has changed the relationship between media corporations and their audiences. With the invention of SMS and the brilliant idea of using SMS to vote in your thoughts to your favorite programs, SMS technology has narrowed the gap between the two parties.


After proving to be hugely successful in the west, the Nepalese Media has followed this trend as well. Media has always been dependent on communication technologies to reach out to the public, but in this case it has made use of it to interact with its audience. The Kantipur News poll makes use of SMS technology to liven their interaction with their viewers. Reality shows like the American Idol or Nepali Tara in our case, run solely on SMS votes. And the latest to use the technology is the Dabur Vatika Miss Nepal 2007.


With the SMS voting system, instant and direct expression has never been easier. But just how reliable are the SMS votes? Do they actually portray the real thoughts of the general public? According to a site, in case of a poll carried out by Kantipur News, 60% of the voters voted that women were responsible for the sexual harassment that they faced. I don't know if this incident reported by the site is true, but it is very much possible, considering that it is usually men who watch the news.


As much of a 'Public Relations' or 'Good will' it may be, SMS voting is also, or more of a business deal. With charges depending upon the type of payment bands or schemes being used, SMS voting generates enormous revenues. In the Spring of 2006, American Idol is supposed to have attracted 64.5 million SMS votes. Voting in the Dabur Vatika My Choice contest costs Rs 2/- per minute on UTL Phone and Rs 5/- per SMS on Mero Mobile & Nepal Telecom, including all applicable Government tax. Multiply that by the number of SMS received and you'll get a pretty big figure.


By harnessing technology to draw customer interaction and gain valuable loyalty and earning revenues at the same time, Media corporations are what you would call 'killing two birds with one stone'.

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