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SMS: The Writing on the Wall

By Darko Milojkovic

28 February,2012

The printing press built by Johannes Gutenberg in 1436 is considered a milestone in human achievement. The first book to be printed on mass was the Gutenberg Bible (the holy book of God, not a guide to Police Academy movies!) Since then the written word has taken off in various media, and in every language conceivable, or indeed fictional.

But what with the rise of the internet and new products such as the Kindle, publishers of books, magazines and newspapers have found it difficult to keep up with the relentless force of technological progress. Good-old fashioned ink on paper is a dying breed. And with the scandal involving News International people's faith in newspapers and traditional forms of media and journalism.

But SMS has caught onto this new market, and has created a new forum for the world of publishing. India is the biggest SMS market in the world with about 246 million users, whereas there are only roughly 20 million internet connections. India is in fact the world's first country with SMS publishing. Publishers can send registered subscribers SMS text messages on topics ranging from sport to health to gossip to local news. Articles are edited and include an embedded advert.

India is the perfect testing ground for this type of system as the cost structure where you pay only to send messages, not to receive them. Also for subscribers, it is entirely free. The largest of them sends well over 10 million text messages. Text messaging rates are falling rapidly, especially for large bulk purchases, so this could be the start of a technological revolution.

SMS publishing would have more practical uses, as users could send articles on, it would save on paper, and people could read pieces more conveniently and at their leisure. SMS is coming – the writing is on the wall!


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