Following on from the launch of our Games channel in December, we are now launching our first content channel for Middle Eastern BBM users: Layalina. The name translates as “our nights,” and is a portal primarily for women, offering lifestyle, fashion and celebrity content tailored to Middle Eastern tastes. This is the first of several new BBM content channels we’ll be launching in the coming weeks as part of our partnership with entertainment and lifestyle content publisher 7awi.
A Region Embracing Technology
The Middle East continues to be one of our strongest regions worldwide in terms of numbers of active BBM users, with Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman, and Kuwait being the busiest markets. With so many active users, we’re working hard to bring more value to our Middle Eastern customers with some exciting new services and content.
The Middle East is a digitally-savvy place. Almost half of the respondents from a study we recently conducted of BBM users in the region said they “cannot live without their mobile phones.” Over half of those surveyed (from 52% to 66%, depending on the country) have two mobile phones. Between 5-10% have three or four. The most popular devices are iPhones, followed by Samsung and BlackBerry models. In addition, the majority of BBM users employ multiple messaging platforms to chat with the same people. In fact, they’re likely to have 3-5 messaging apps on their phones.
When it comes to messaging, Middle Easterners especially like their BBM for its privacy and security features. Close to half of respondents mentioned the fact that BBM is secure or the Private Pin as one of the primary reasons they use BBM regularly.
7awi Lifestyle Content
Along with the rest of the world, our Middle Eastern customers are making a transition in how they get their news and other content, from print and TV to digital and mobile. That’s why we’re partnering with 7awi (pronounced “hawi”).
Today, 7awi offers an integrated digital content platform with rich local, regional and global content. Our first launch is Layalina. In the weeks that follow, we’ll continue to add more portals, including those for men, luxury goods, celebrity news, and Waseet—7awi’s portal for classifieds, where people can post free ads to buy and sell goods and services.
More Services Coming Soon
We’re looking at news aggregators; a hotel comparison and booking solution; a taxi service; restaurant location, reservation and ordering and delivery services; online retailers; airtime top-up options; and music services that would enable you to stream music through BBM.
As you can see, we have a lot of ideas for how to make BBM even better—but if you have more ideas, please let us know in the comments.
If you’re in the Middle East, be sure to check out Layalina in the Lifestyle section of your Discover menu today—and keep an eye out for the additional channels that will appear there in the coming weeks.