Readers in 45 countries are receiving news alerts from a regional daily direct to their phone, it has been revealed.
The Oxford Mail launched its service on the instant messaging platform Whatsapp in June, in what was believed to have been an industry first in this country.
The vast bulk of subscribers are UK-based, but “delighted” assistant editor Jason Collie says there are also sizeable audiences in Pakistan and Italy.
The service is set to reach 1,500 live subscribers within the next fortnight, and also counts users from as far afield as China, Tajikistan, Kazakstan, Sierra Leone, Syria, Oman, Bahrain, Argentina and Iran.
Said Jason: “As much as I would love this to be solely down to our stonking coverage of Oxfordshire, clearly there’s other factors in play, including readers wanting to be part of a community.
“That’s been one of the unforeseen benefits of our Whatsapp service that everyone is really positive.
“Even if we make a mistake or perhaps put out a story that isn’t the strongest, we have not had a single complaint or snide comment that other social media platforms attract. The readers feel a sense of ownership for Whatsapp.”
The Mail’s alerts comprise a morning bulletin of the Mail’s best stories and an evening wrap-up of the most popular stories online, as well as major breaking news alerts.
Jason added: “We’ve also continued to have other media companies abroad asking about how to use Whatsapp, including from Germany, Ireland and New Zealand, so it continues to capture the imagination.
“But what I’ve told them is that this is only the first step on using chat apps with the access direct to people’s mobiles rather than the finished product.”