07 April 2016 Current Affairs: From April 5, the public service broadcaster- All India Radio (AIR), has stopped sending news alerts. The decision to discontinue the service was taken on April 1 by the Prasar Bharati Corporation, the parent body of AIR. The objective of the behind the free SMS services which was being provided since September 2013 was to mainly reach out to those who do not have smart phones, or did not use social media platforms for news updates. AIR sends three million SMSes to its subscribers on a daily basis. Each SMS has 160 characters.The main reason for discontinuing the service was the cost as the free SMS services was not cost-effective. It was meant for an advertising-based model which Akashvani couldn’t work out. The service launched on September 9, 2013 provided national, international news, headlines in 16 languages and live news updates for special events like Mann Ki Baat, Budget, Independence Day speech of PM and the President’s address on the eve of Republic Day. AIR was using NIC SMS gateway for delivering free SMSes to start with but after TRAI’s order, AIR had to pay for sending out the alerts which incurred an expenditure of Rs. 5.5 cr. in the financial year 2015-16 so AIR had to discontinue it for financial reasons.
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