MBC and Showtime launch TXT TV

MBC channel has teamed up with pay TV operator Showtime to launch TXT TV, the first broadcast channel in the region dedicated to SMS text services.

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By  Vijaya Cherian Published  November 18, 2003

MBC has teamed up with ShowTime to launch TXT TV, the first broadcast channel in the region dedicated to SMS text services. Although the channel currently telecasts MBC programmes, it will gradually source more programmes that encourage viewers to SMS each other.

All satellite television viewers with a NileSat dish will be able to view the free-to-air TXT channel, while interactive functions are currently available only to users in Kuwait, Egypt and the UAE.

"SMS TV brings an exciting new dimension to the way viewers interact with television," says Nick Bryant, managing director, TXT TV. "It is a truly interactive forum where individuals can discuss issues and decide the outcome of television shows like Big Brother. In seconds, a user's text message will appear on regional satellite television," he adds.

Every month, around 1 billion SMS text messages are sent from mobile users in the Middle East and North Africa region, says Bryant. "It is a proven technology with which people are familiar. TXT gives the technology a new dimension. It bridges the divide between the broadcast and telecommunications industries as SMS becomes the preferred response medium for TV games and voting," explains Bryant.

The channel enables mobile phone users to chat on television, send questions to experts and celebrities, enter on-screen competitions and order and also download ring tones, logos, picture messages, Java games and other mobile products.

Users will have to register before they can use the SMS service. Details for registration can be viewed on the TXT channel at 12073 MHz on NileSat. Users will have to pay a premium of AED 3 for each SMS they send to TXT Tv. Up to 12 messages can appear on screen at any time allowing users to respond to each other's messages and have virtual conversations through the television without revealing their real identities. All SMS messages are screened by a team of moderators to filter out inappropriate or sensitive content.

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