Instant messaging trial launches on BBC’s International News services

Instant messaging apps have had phenomenal user growth in the past year. We know that hundreds of millions of people are using these platforms to stay connected, but increasingly also to share news stories, pictures and videos. This has been particularly evident with the Indian election campaign, so it’s the perfect news event to pilot our use of these apps.Trushar Barot, Assistant Editor, BBC News Social Media Hub
Date: 04.04.2014     Last updated: 07.04.2014 at 09.55
Category: BBC World News
The BBC is taking to instant messaging to hear what voters across India think as they go to the polls. BBC News India accounts are being launched today, Friday 4 April, on instant messaging platforms WhatsApp and WeChat, giving Indian audiences of BBC World News, bbc.com and BBC World Service unprecedented coverage of the Indian election campaign.

BBC News India will receive user-generated content directly from Indian voters while also distributing the best of BBC coverage of the election including videos, special graphics and interview clips. This will provide people with top analysis of the election and also go behind the headlines to tell the personal stories that reveal what’s really at stake.

On the launch of BBC News India, Trushar Barot, Assistant Editor for the Social Media Hub at BBC News, says: “Instant messaging apps have had phenomenal user growth in the past year. We know that hundreds of millions of people are using these platforms to stay connected, but increasingly also to share news stories, pictures and videos. This has been particularly evident with the Indian election campaign, so it’s the perfect news event to pilot our use of these apps. We’ll be using these accounts to encourage Indian voters – and those from around the world with an interest in Indian politics – to share their key issues, questions and experiences of the election campaign. We’ll also be sharing with them the best of our content from inside these platforms."

The launch of BBC News India will complement a host of election dedicated content going out throughout April and May across BBC World News and BBC.com with the focus on providing audiences in India and around the world with top analysis and the latest developments as the campaign progresses. Access to news stories will now be made even easier for Indian audiences with the launch of the India edition of BBC.com on mobile. The edition will also give people access to news headlines from the BBC World Service’s Hindi and Tamil websites, bbchindi.com and bbctamil.com.

And with social media increasing in popularity, the BBC Trending team will also be reporting from India on what’s popular and why (@BBCtrending).

Users can connect to the BBC News India WhatsApp account by sending a message to it after adding this number on their phone’s contacts: +919650801273

Users can connect to BBC News India on WeChat by searching for the ID ‘BBCNewsIndia’ inside the app and clicking ‘Follow’.

CM9

Notes to Editors

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bbc.com is one of the most respected brands on the internet and complements BBC World News in its offering of high quality, up-to-the minute international news, business, sports, weather, lifestyle, technology content and in-depth analysis. Launched in November 2007, the site attracts 58 million unique visitors each month.

BBC Hindi and BBC Tamil are part of BBC World Service. BBC Hindi delivers content for radio, online and TV. BBC’s special radio output for India’s FM market, available on regional FM stations, includes infotainment updates and a portfolio of weekly programmes. Hindi-speakers across the world can access the BBC Hindi content via the news site bbchindi.com. The website can be accessed via the mobile portals of Vodafone, Reliance, Aircel, Tata Do Co Mo, Tata Indicom, Idea and Loop Mobile, and via the BBC Hindi apps developed for Android smartphones and Nokia’s Series 40 devices. The BBC Hindi weekly TV news programme, Global India, is broadcast every Friday by the ETV network in India. BBC Tamil radio programming is available on SW frequencies – 31, 22 and 19 metres (9500, 13830 and 15470 kHz) – and on demand via the website bbctamil.com which offers a range of content-sharing functions and has a mobile version.