by crossriverwatch admin
The management of CRWatch Resources, publishers of CrossRiverWatch is set to launch a short code service for Short Message Service, SMS for interested subscribers who may want to be getting breaking news alert from CrossRiverWatch.
In an interview with our reporter, the Deputy Managing Director, DMD of the company, Mr. Charlie Ofem revealed that the service will be launched in October for readers both locally and internationally.
The DMD explained that presently the service is available to over 13,000 people who have been receiving at least one breaking news alert sms from CrossRiverWatch daily in the past one year free of any form of charges.
He said when the short code service becomes operational; readers who want to continue receiving the news alert sms or
fresh subscribers will be required to send “YES” from their mobile phones to the short code after which a hundred Naira will be deducted from their account balance. The hundred Naira will serve for one months’ subscription.
What is new about the planned launch of sms short code by CRWatch Resources?
The new thing about it is that the sms news alert that we have been sending to people free of charge for over one year now consistently will now have to be subscribed to from October 2013. It will also be a test of the confidence that Cross Riverians have in the information that we have been striving so hard to bring to them this past year and how poised they are to support us to continue the work.
Are you saying some persons have been receiving the alert already?
Yes! We started by sourcing for about 3,600 of telephone numbers of Cross Riverians including former and present public officials in the state, commissioners, LG Chairmen, councilors, heads of MDAs, Judicial officers, governors, security chiefs, friends of Cross River, international development partners, traditional rulers, artisans unions, professional unions, the academia, diplomatic corps etcetera. For one year and a month now, these numbers have increased to over 13,000 and all of them receive at least a text message every day with topical headlines and breaking news from Cross River State. The reason we were particular about getting the numbers of the state actors was to ensure that they all get the news and react to the issues that our stories unearth so that the change we seek can be achieved and so far I must tell you, we are quite happy that is it working as planned.
One year is a long period of time, how have you managed to sustain all that because from what you are saying, if a text message cost even one Naira, you must spend at least thirteen thousand Naira daily on the sms and that is if you send only one page?
Well, that is what we have had to go through to ensure we bring this information to our people. We counted the cost before we began this project. The team leader has said it repeatedly that we are not a flash in the pan. We knew it was going to task both our time and resources and we planned ahead. We are still investing into the idea. We are still building the brand. You may also want to know that we spend a hundred dollar at least every two days to promote our stories on facebook pay per click adverts. We spend a lot of money too on internet and power. A lot is also spent on operational gadgets for the reporters as well as reward for the labor of these citizen reporters who provide content etcetera etcetera. We don’t get funding from anywhere. Not any individual, not government at any level.
How do you intend to recoup all these money
When the brand eventually stabilizes, it will generate all these resources in a hundred fold. I think that the Cross River market is an uncharted path and we are blazing the trail. The prospects are very promising. The most important thing now is for us to gain the total trust of the Cross River population as a media organization that will at all times protect their interest. If we can achieve that, the money will follow. We will be able to recoup our investment eternally. For now we just want to make sure we give our people information as well as afford them a platform to engage public policy makers and stay consistent on that until the brand becomes an inseparable part of every Cross Riverian.
So why have you decided to make readers pay for the sms alert?
Yes, so that we can be able to sustain it. The data base is enlarging every day as more and more people continue to show interest in the sms alert. We continue to update the data base with additional numbers every day and from our budget, we realize that we may not be able to sustain it if subscribers do not support us. I personally subscribe to different news alerts from the GSM networks for a token every month. They keep you abreast on the move even though you can still get the news on their sites but these ones come directly into your phone. So our thinking is that a hundred Naira monthly subscription fee is not too much for our readers to support us so we can continue to deliver this service efficiently. If we could do it free of charge for over a year for thirteen thousand persons, we have sufficiently demonstrated capacity. We are only appealing to our teeming readers to support us to continue rendering this service.
When will the service be available and how will subscribers key in?
The short code will be available in October. It will be sufficiently advertised and promoted. Subscribers will only be required to ensure they have at least a hundred Naira balance in their mobile phones and just send “YES” to the short code and get activated instantly. That hundred Naira will serve for one month subscription before renewal. Once that is done, the subscriber, whether in Nigeria or Diaspora will receive at least one breaking news alert from Cross River State daily throughout the month.
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