In a bid to reach more readers effectively by using mobile chat apps, BBC will start disseminating news related to the upcoming Indian elections on WhatsApp and WeChat. The news service has created the “BBC News India” account on both services where it will share news related to the elections in English and Hindi.
Since WhatsApp doesn’t allow brands to have their own channels, yet, users can add +919650801273 as a new contact on their phones. Then they need to send a test message on that number via WhatsApp, which will add them to BBC India’s broadcast list.
WeChat, on the other hand, allows brands to have their own channels. If you are active on WeChat, you can search for the ID ‘BBC News India’ and follow it to get the latest news.
Currently BBC says it won’t send more than three updates a day, lest people find it spammy. However, since it is a pilot, this could change depending on the response users give to the service.
WhatsApp has over 40 million monthly active users in India and over 465 million users globally. WeChat has over 300 million monthly active users with over 100 million of them outside of China. India is one of its biggest international markets.