Friday 20 May 2011

SMS Mis-interactivity on FM Radio

During my hour and a half daily commute what really comes in handy is my bottom of the pyramid CDMA phone which allows me to preset 12 FM radio channels. Though it's a different story that carrying this additional phone apart from the official BlackBerry is a burden as official BlackBerry does not have a FM receiver! Probably the organization that I work for has got the FM radio disabled J
One day on my way to office while I was listening to radio, the RJ of a radio station (incidentally the only one that plays Hindi songs in Bangalore, India) mentioned that listeners can play the songs of their choice if they send a SMS to 5XXXX with the message ONE followed by their name and the name of the song. I followed the instructions and diligently send the SMS.
Here is the call flow (a note for Bollywood atheists – Dum Maaro Dum is a recent movie with the soundtrack of the same name featuring sizzling’n’sultry Deeeeeeepika..!!!)

And since I am based in Bangalore,

And since I chose to listen to Song 1,

No doubt it’s a cool SMS application to drive user engagement and affinity to the FM station, but there is always a room for refinement and improvement upon status quo.
Post the above transactions / interactions over the mobile I had the following observations (it will be great if the readers of this post offer their welcome comments if they happen to chance upon this post):

1.    Perhaps the RJ was given a wrong script / brief by the guys who powered the SMS application. Instead of promising that, “the listeners can play songs of their choice”, the script could be, when a listener chooses a song from the given options, an SMS alert will be received by the listener once the chosen song is on-air.

Right Script: “Hey Ya…to know the top 3 numbers that will be played during this hour (or whenever), SMS
MYSONGBLR…choose the songs from the options received and you’ll get an  alert whenever your chosen song is played again for today. This is only for Namma Bangaluru.

For some strange reason perhaps the song I chose never went on-air as I am still waiting for the alert.

2.    Since the radio station is not networked and the broadcast was meant for Bangalore only, the RJ should have been briefed in the first instance to announce the Keyword MYSONGBLR rather than ONE, it would have saved me time plus INR 3/-.

3.    During the call flow (please notice Transaction 1), the SMS that I received from the station states three cities of Mumbai, Delhi, and Bangalore. What is the need to mention Mumbai and Delhi when I am a listener from Bangalore and the broadcast is available only in Bangalore without any spillover to Delhi and Mumbai? The unnecessary confusion can be avoided by just mentioning Bangalore. Moreover it has a customized feel for the listener.

In the cases of media backed short codes, there are very few examples where there is a tight co-ordination between the technical / business (Value Added Services or VAS) organization that powers the short code and the creative / publishing / Media organization. Though both the organizations are a part of the same group, they seldom speak to each other.  Even when they interact, it is more about piling up issues on each other. Typically the grouse of the media organization is that they are the ones who are driving additional traffic on the short code without any share of revenue that is earned by the VAS organization.

The ideal scenario would be that of a mutual cooperation and sync amongst the VAS and the Media team to append interactivity to various media properties and drive user engagement and revenues. The focus on maximizing revenues should not trump on improving user experience. After all listener is the king in this business.

The above incidence shows lack of co-ordination between FM station and their VAS organization. Probably their VAS organization trained them once on the interface to manage the keywords for usage by their Jockeys and didn’t revisit them. Though it has served the purpose of revenue maximization but has failed to deliver an impeccable user experience.

Signing off for now but will continue with another post on the same subject with some more thoughts on synchronization of consumer touch points for this FM Station.

Time to tune in to my favorite station again and since I have learnt the expensive way, I will save on INR 3/- this time J

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous02 June, 2011

    Good post Himanshu. Your point is well made. Listener is king indeed and if they are not the primary focus of both media and VAS organizations neither will have a successful outcome.



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