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Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Independent banned TV station A1+ launches news channel for mobile phone users in Armenia

For the first time ever in our country, independent (pro-opposition) banned TV station A1+ launches news channel for mobile phone users in Armenia. Twice a day - 2pm and 6pm local time, news will be updated. For details, see video below. Well done, A1+! Yet another example of breaking state imposed censorship via the use of modern technologies in Armenia.

10 comments:

Onnik Krikorian said...

Interesting development, indeed. Not that I'm a great fan of their reporting, but at least they offer an alternative and more important, on demand out of personal choice rather than by being the only game in town as is the case with the TV media. Will check it out tomorrow.

artmika said...

Being forced into effectively online only existence after the ban, A1+ became quite a trend setter within Armenian media employing alternative technologies. Remember blogging, then Youtube channel, and soon others followed the suite. I expect more news and developments in Armenia's previously untouched TV mobile field after today's announcement by A1+. Will look forward to your feedback tomorrow.

nazarian said...

This is a neat way to generate a revenue stream for the TV company. Now the rural populations have access to their news and since it's a paid service, there is no dependence on advertising money.

It's not going to be a big contributor to the bottom line but it's one step forward for the media organizations in the country. When they stifle you, you either go out of business, or you stick around and find innovative ways to survive.

A1+ chose to survive and innovate.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Well, downloaded the first -- 1 minutes 24 second of short news items. Not bad quality wise and actually pretty ok. Would rather see it streamed, but the download of about 1.4 megs didn't take much longer than a few minutes on a 3G phone (maybe longer using GPRS?).

Also, the way it works is you send the SMS, one comes back with the URL to download the file (rather than view it online). Therefore, I'm assuming most of that 300 drams is taken up by the cost to the phone subscriber. Still, something should be left over, I guess.

As I said, would rather see it in real-time streamed online, but perhaps not. You can also save the file once it's downloaded which means one user could theoretically send one sms and distribute the report via bluetooth to other phones.

Probably that's an excellent way to approach the matter in the regions although I have visions of groups of people crowded around one phone instead. Still, not bad and quite an interesting precedent. Moreover, unlike the TV media, if the government launched their own service who would download it?

Onnik Krikorian said...

BTW: Couldn't see the first program sent via mobile phone on the A1 Plus site or it's YouTube Channel so have uploaded it for you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R61kjysysdsObviously, remember, it was designed to be viewed on a mobile phone and not on a much larger computer screen.

artmika said...

Many thanks, Onnik! Works pretty good. Well done. I am sure, it will evolve more in time.

Onnik Krikorian said...

Well, I think it's quite effective for what it is and the limitation for now is always going to be the cost of download. People might pay for fancy phones here, but they rarely actually spend much money using them.

As a short news service -- along the lines of the BBC's 1 minute world news -- it's pretty good and probably not much evolution is needed. Besides, attention spans as well as bandwidth can be limited for anything longer.

Unless, of course, you mean, a streaming news mobile phone service. Would like to see that, but I suspect free wifi hotspots would be the order of the day first. Until then, it's rather effective for a first attempt, I think.

artmika said...

Agree, and yes, the cost may cause problems in terms of accessibility. It would be interesting (after some time passed) to know how many actually use it. Still, group watching is always an option, I suppose, especially in regions. Also, more people may try using it in case of emergencies or breaking news.

me said...

Nostalgia...I thought I'd never see that "A-F" lratvutyun logo again. I think the idea is good, let's see what they make of it.

artmika said...

me too... loved the logo... :)