The BBC is using private mobile messaging apps to engage with their audience in India around this year’s presidential elections, the first phase of which begins on Monday.
Starting today, BBC News India is sending updates to users of WeChat and WhatsApp to distribute BBC content, engage with the audience and source user-generated content (UGC).
"A lot of these apps have huge, huge audiences," Trushar Barot, assistant editor of the BBC’s UGC and social media hub, told Journalism.co.uk, "so the potential is definitely there as we figure out an editorial product that fits with the platform."
Figures from February estimate the number of global WhatsApp users at 450 million, while WeChat claimed a total 355 million users worldwide in March.
The first messages from BBC News India included stories in Hindi and English, an introduction to users as to how the app process would work and an invitation to share “thoughts, comments and experiences of the campaign as well as their pictures and videos”.
WhatsApp users will receive three messages per day as push notifications, while the capability is limited to one message per day on WeChat