BBM recently stated that South Africa is a key growth market for the service, and it sees massive potential in the country.
Adam Pattison, VP for EMEA at BBM, said they plan to make major investments in South Africa in 2017 to support their 3 million monthly active users.
MyBroadband spoke to Pattison about the service’s plans for SA and what moves will be made going forward.
Firstly, Pattison said it was important to note that BBM is no longer controlled and managed by BlackBerry.
“It is now run under licence by Creative Media Works, an entity of KMK Online from the Emtek portfolio of media companies,” he said.
This gives BBM the freedom to “develop, maintain, and market the BBM platform as we see fit” and focus on Android and iOS devices.
“South Africa has always been a key market for us and we have a loyal and engaged user base here which we intend to grow significantly over the next few years,” he said.
BBM plans to introduce more content to its messaging platform, which will allow users to “consume video, listen to music, book a taxi, order a pizza, or manage their money” – all through BBM.
Pattison said BBM’s current South African user base is mostly under the age of 35, with a skew towards the 16-25 group.
“They are tech-savvy and live in urban areas, and we will look to focus on this key area over the next 12 months,” he said.
“As a result, we are launching Stage 360 in the next month, a unique innovative mobile platform dedicated to the development of young, talented, and undiscovered urban musicians to showcase their talents.”
The initiative will launch in partnership with Slikour on Life and Trace South Africa.
WhatsApp and Messenger
Two big players in the local messaging market are WhatsApp and Facebook’s Messenger, which BBM competes against from a chat perspective.
“However, where we differ and where we will create our own niche is that we offer a content ecosystem on top of the core chat experience,” said Pattison.
“We believe that by bringing further content, news, ecommerce opportunities, and payment solutions to the user, we are empowering them to achieve more within the time they spend chatting.”
He said while BBM will compete with other chat platforms to a degree, it is possible “to live alongside each other and still achieve our goals”.