RANDHIR VERMA, president of the Chandigarh Telecom Subscribers Association, is all set to take on telecom operators over what he calls the 'premium SMS fraud.' A premium SMS costs anywhere between Rs 3 to Rs 6 - unlike Re 1 for a local one, and Rs 2 for a national- and the cost is shared by the cellular operator and the media channel. "Kaun Banega Crorepati", for instance, generated 58 million SMSes over three months. Assuming a charge of Rs 3 per SMS, a total of Rs 174 million was shared by the TV channel and the cellular opera- tor So who is losing out? The consumer
The above appeared in a leading newspaper last week. This got me thinking about the umpteen SMS polls that these channels run every day (sorry make that every hour). The amount of money they must be generating from these campaigns must be an astronomical figure. Moreover, its a fraud being perpetrated everyday on the viewers who get emotional on the human interest stories being shown at Prime-Time slots, or even the polls during such idiotic stories like cars running without drivers etc.
Even reality TV shows like Indian Idol etc make a mockery of the voting of talent by using online SMS polls. I wonder if anybody cares or is there any regulating body who can intervene on the viewers' behalf and put a stop to this practice.