Thursday, October 30th10.5°C
23888
23004

BlackBerry looks to get money from its BBM chat service with new offerings

TORONTO - BlackBerry is about to launch an update to its popular BlackBerry Messenger chat service that it hopes will rake in some extra coin.

The Waterloo, Ont.-based technology firm is looking to generate revenue with its BBM app through sponsorships with brand names and by launching a new BBM Shop that deals in virtual goods.

The plan delivers on a promise last year when it said BBM, which has grown to more than 85 million since the chat service became available to iPhones and Android devices, would become a money-making business.

The company has no intentions to start charging most users for the app, opting instead for various other hooks to drive revenues, from selling enhanced emoticons known as "stickers" to the eventual launch of a secure payment platform.

"At no point should monetization come at the expense of the user," said David Proulx, senior director of BBM Business Development at a meeting with reporters Tuesday.

"Approaches we're taking all — in their own way — add incremental value to the BBM experience."

The technology community was skeptical when BlackBerry first talked about plans to make the BBM service a viable business, but over the past few months chat applications have grabbed the attention of investors after Facebook purchased the competing service WhatsApp for US$19 billion.

Now it's up to BlackBerry to generate money from its own service without alienating users.

When an update to the BBM software is released "within the next week," the company will open the doors to a new virtual shop which will heavily promote a line of virtual stickers designed by various artists.

While the "sticker" phenomenon has yet to truly catch on in North America, it's wildly popular in Asia where it has become an important form of communication online, Proulx said.

Facebook's messaging service has its own line of large and colourful pictures that users can use to convey their emotions.

BlackBerry hopes to expand stickers to include partners like World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. Companies will either share revenues from sales or pay BlackBerry to give out free stickers with its product on them, perhaps to help market a new movie or promote a soda.

Further sponsorship deals will be made through an updated version of its BBM Channels service, which will allow users to follow their favourite companies or download sponsored apps that are catered to their specific interests, whether its music, sports or business.

For corporate users, BlackBerry will launch BBM Protected this summer. Companies can purchase the enhanced level of encryption as part its enterprise services.

In the longer term, BlackBerry hopes to turn BBM into a mobile financial services tool that will allow users to link their bank account to their phone for easier payments.

While the company tested out a early version of the idea with BBM Money in Indonesia, Proulx said it will still be awhile before other parts of the world get to access similar technology.

BlackBerry is scheduled to report its fourth-quarter and year-end financial results early Friday.

The Canadian Press


Read more Business News

23630


Recent Trending




Today's Market
S&P TSX14458.69-68.88
S&P CDNX771.65-9.42
DJIA17195.42221.11
Nasdaq4566.138+16.912
S&P 5001994.65+12.35
CDN Dollar0.8935-0.0006
Gold1200.10+1.50
Oil80.65-0.25
Lumber322.40-1.20
Natural Gas3.715+0.066

 
Okanagan Companies
Pacific Safety0.11+0.01
Knighthawk0.01-0.005
QHR Technologies Inc1.150.00
Cantex0.045-0.015
Anavex Life Sciences0.1711-0.0089
Metalex Ventures0.0350.00
Russel Metals32.22-0.35
Copper Mountain Mining1.97-0.05
Colorado Resources0.14+0.005
ReliaBrand Inc0.012-0.004
Sunrise Resources Ltd0.05+0.025
Mission Ready Services0.375+0.005

 





FEATURED Property
16026342818 Auburn rd.West Kelowna, BC
4 bedrooms 3 baths
$459,000
more details
image2image2image2
Click here to feature your property
Please wait... loading


Empty nesting: financial issues

Now that the children have ‘left the nest’, it is a good time to step back and take stock of your financial situation. Being on your own will probably cut household costs to some extent, b...


Keep your haunted home safe

Eerie sounds, spooky lights and Jack-o’-lanterns aglow—extra efforts at Halloween will keep visitors coming back for both tricks and treats. However, to keep the fun going, it’s imp...


What I learned in China

Photo: ContributedI will never be an expert on China. It is just too big, too complex and too old with layers of history and meaning that would take several lifetimes to unravel. As I said to my hosts...

_








Member of BC Press Council


22771