5 Reasons the New BBM Is Better Than Ever

Man texting with cell phone on dark patio

Have you updated your BBM today? If not, do it soon! We just released a new version with a bunch of great new features to improve your chat experience. Here are the big updates:

  1. You can now make free video calls from BBM
  2. Phone number registration gives new iOS and Android users another option for creating a BBM account
  3. Group chat improvements help you communicate and coordinate with multiple people
  4. New Discover screen connects you to new services and content – like stickers!
  5. Retract has been expanded and now allows you to take back stickers, files, and other content in your chats

Update your BBM in BlackBerry World, Apple App Store and Google Play today.

1. Make Free Video Calls From BBM

The BBM Video feature we rolled out over the last couple of months has now officially moved beyond beta to the 1.0 release. This was the number-one requested feature for a long time, and reception has been very enthusiastic. The beta release has hosted millions of video calls in the last few weeks. BBM Video allows iOS and Android users to video chat with each other across platforms. (Note: BlackBerry 10 users already enjoy video calls with other BlackBerry 10 users over BBM.)

2. Register with a Phone Number (iOS and Android)

The new BBM adds a whole new way for iOS and Android users to create a BBM account: with their mobile number. We used to require an email address. Now we offer both options.

This has been a top-requested feature for a while, as it speeds up the process for signing up, resetting forgotten passwords, and finding friends to chat with.

For those used to the BBM PIN system, rest assured that you can continue use your PIN as before, connecting with others via that secure identification rather than revealing any other contact details.

BBM-discover3. Access New Services and Content from the Discover Screen

Your updated BBM comes with the new Discover screen. Accessible anytime from the BBM main top menu, the Discover screen is the place to find new sticker packs today – and will become the place to learn about more content, subscriptions, and other great services. Check back often, as we’ll be adding to it regularly.

4. Chat with 250 Contacts in Easy-To-Find Group Chat

Did you know BBM has a group chat feature? If you didn’t, you’re not alone. We learned through research that many people haven’t found this feature (formerly called “multiperson chat”), so we’ve brought it to the forefront in this latest version.

Group chat is a lot like 1:1 chat, but with more people – up to 250. When you send a message, everyone on the chat receives it. You can also send stickers and other content like pictures, voice notes, and Glympse locations. Before, you had to start a multiperson/group chat from the More menu. Now, you start one the same way you start a 1:1 chat. Either tap the blue button in the lower right, or tap the three dots in the upper right and then select Start Group Chat.

BBMchat2

BBMchat3

5. Retract Stickers, Files and More

Message retraction is a feature we started giving away for free in April (it was previously available only through a subscription). It used to let you “take back” messages you mistakenly (or regrettably) sent and wanted to erase. Now, you can also retract stickers, files, and other content you send via chat.

And More!

We also made several other improvements for people on iOS and Android devices.

iOS users can also:

  • Mute incoming chat notifications for 1:1 and group chats
  • Share photos from your Photos app to BBM (previously, you had to be in BBM to share pictures)
  • Choose to hide message preview in notifications

Those on Android can now:

  • Share content directly to frequently contacted BBM friends (Android 6.0+) through Android direct share framework, without having to open BBM
  • Set a duration for muting notifications

This release represents a lot of time and effort for us, and we’re really excited to bring all these improvements to you. And now, it’s time to get to work on the next one.

Be sure to download the new version today from BlackBerry World, Apple App Store, or Google Play so you can start enjoying all the new features.

How to Send and Receive Money on BBM Using Paypal

Paypal Blog Banner

Thanks to BBM and PayPal teaming up, BBM is one of the best ways to simply and easily send and receive funds in supported regions1. Available on iOS, Android, and BlackBerry 10, this convenient new feature allows you to send and receive money from friends within a BBM conversation.

Check out the rest of this post for an overview of how it works. 😀

Tip: Consider adding the PayPal website to your device home screen in case you need to send funds to a friend who doesn’t use BBM. To do this, visit http://PayPal.com on your device and use the Add to Home Screen option in your device browser to add a dedicated PayPal icon to your home screen.

To send money to a BBM contact, open your conversation and click on the PayPal “Send Money” icon in the attachment menu.

If this is the first time you are using this feature, you will need to link your PayPal account with your BBM account. To do this, follow the on-screen instructions, and future PayPal transfers will not require authentication. If at any point you change your mind about allowing transfers via BBM, log into PayPal’s website and change your security settings as needed.

If the contact you’ve selected to receive funds hasn’t linked their PayPal account with their BBM account, BBM will send a prompt asking them to do so.

Once the contact you’re chatting with has linked their PayPal account with BBM, you can enter the amount, review the details, add a message and hit send.

This recipient will get a confirmation with your message, the transfer amount, and a prompt to check their PayPal account for details.

Paypal in BBM

BBM has always been the best way to connect and share messages, photos and more with speed, control, and privacy. Now it’s even better that users will have the ability to send and receive money to friends, family, and other contacts.

Like visuals? Watch the video to get started:

1 – Supported countries as of publishing include: Canada, United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and South Africa.

Got a question? Leave a comment and let us know!

This was originally published on the BlackBerry Help blog.

Chat, Games, and News Drive Mobile Usage in Asia-Pacific, So We’re Bringing News and Games to Chat

APAC-BBM-games_square

I recently attended a Google event where a presenter shared some research about the number of minutes per day that the average person in the Asia-Pacific region spends on his or her phone. (I was going to share a photo I took of the slide, but just noticed the bottom says “confidential & proprietary,” so you’ll have to take my word for it.)

The surprise and not-surprise of the data was this: Indonesians spend the most time by far on all three categories measured: chat, games, and news. Chat was the biggest (well over two hours a day), closely followed by games (also over two hours). The survey included Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan.

The stats were from the Google-TNS APAC Mobile Usage Study, 2015. You can read more about that here (though the data I mention above isn’t included in this article). But it’s still worth a look. Other results to note: even though Indonesia has a lower smartphone penetration than its neighboring countries, and Indonesians install fewer apps, the smartphone is more important to their daily lives. (This link is to another Google blog covering the same study.) They use it more, and they use it first over other devices like PCs and tablets.

More News and Games in BBM

We don’t mind that Indonesians may have fewer apps on their phones, because BBM is their #1. It’s the most installed and the most commonly used app across all mobile platforms.

The archipelago is by far our biggest BBM market, with over 60 million monthly active users, so we’ve known for a long time that Indonesians are active mobile users, especially when it comes to chat. But seeing this data is a great confirmation of our ongoing strategy to bring even more content to the country’s favorite app.

We’re working to bring them more of what they love. We’ve partnered with a number of content players, and will help them connect with their customers through Channels, including the new channel from Liputan6.com (C002EC21B), which now has over 6 million subscribers.

APAC-BBM-games-man_square

We’ve also recently launched BBM Life, for which we’ve partnered with a number of local bloggers that provide daily content about lifestyle, food, travel, “top” lists (example: Top Five Things to Do in Indonesia), and celebrity news. The channel has already hit over 600,000 subscribers in Indonesia.

And in a particularly exciting development, we just announced our strategic partnership with Emtek, Indonesia’s leading media content company. This alliance will integrate BBM’s social, chat, commerce, and content capabilities with Emtek’s substantial portfolio of media and assets that include broadcast television, web properties, content production, and artists. This means customers will get more:

  • Content: music and video streaming, games, sports and news channels, celebrity blogs, and more
  • Commerce: shopping, gifting, and coupons/vouchers
  • Online to offline commerce: booking movies, travel, and health services, as well as job postings
  • Finance: payment processing, money transfer, mobile phone recharge, and utilities billing

A Proven Business Model

Of course, we’ll continue to update BBM to make it an even more useful tool for your daily life, with cross-platform video chat, more privacy and security features, more convenience, and more fun. And we’ll also continue to add extras to enhance your experience.

We’re already piloting a number of BBM games in several regions via the BBM Shop (along with stickers, airtime top-up and transfer, streaming music, and more). And our customers love it, visiting the Shop over a billion times a month. Soon, all of these new additions will become part of a set of services within BBM that’ll also include others, like coupons/vouchers, commerce, and news. We’re bulking up our virtual goods offering because we’ve had success with it – and we’re not the only ones.

Other popular messaging apps in Asia have incorporated games and news and are succeeding in their home markets. But two facts remain in our favor: BBM is #1 in Indonesia, and Indonesians spend more time on their phones than anyone else in the Asia-Pacific region. Sounds like an opportunity to me.

A recent forecast predicts that in 2016, mobile games will generate more revenue than PC and console games for the first time. So it seems that the people have spoken: they want to take their games with them. Multi-player games pair really well with chat because they offer another fun way to keep in touch with friends and family.

These are the kinds of things that are keeping us busy now and that we’ll be rolling out in the coming months. Keep an eye out here for announcements.

Free Stuff from BBM: New Horoscope Channel and Ghostbusters Stickers!

BBMStarsWe debuted a fun new BBM Channel for Indonesians earlier this week: BBM Stars. It’s an astrology channel that will publish daily news for your zodiac sign, star placement and movement, horoscopes, and a daily fortune reading.

To populate the channel, we’ve partnered with the astrology bloggers behind Vemale.com from KapanLagi Network.

We’ll publish their original horoscopes inside BBM, so you can check in for your daily horoscope in the same place you find your family, friends, and news.

We’ll post 12-15 times per day, with short, playful readings and fortunes. Be sure to join BBM Stars (C0039D7C8) to start getting the updates in your Feed today!

Ghostbusters_S004Also, we just launched in the BBM Shop free stickers from the coming film, Ghostbusters! This all-female remake of the 80s comedy classic comes to theaters around the world in mid-July.

Besides the 30+ Ghostbusters stickers, there are more than 30 other free sticker packs available today in BBM Shop.

BBM users are appreciating them: since making the free stickers available last week, our daily installs of stickers has grown by 700%.

You can visit http://shop.bbm.com/stickers/ghostbusters or click on the BBM Shop icon inside your BBM mobile app.

BBM Video Beta Brings iPhone and Android Cross-Platform Video Calling to Asia-Pacific

BBM video chat

We’ve been rolling out the beta version of BBM Video over the last several weeks, introducing it market-by-market around the world. The new feature gives iPhone and Android users the ability to video-call each over BBM. (Note: BlackBerry 10 users already enjoy video calls with other BlackBerry 10 users over BBM.)

I’m excited to say that BBM Video beta is now available for all our customers in the Asia-Pacific region, starting today. It should appear in your BBM automatically.

This is the final phase in our systematic rollout of the beta feature. Some people have asked why Asia-Pacific, home to our largest base of users, received the beta after other regions. The answer is that we wanted to release it in smaller markets first so we’d have the chance to address any issues that might have come up before opening it up to more traffic. The good news is that it’s stable, so we’re rolling it out globally.

How to Get Started

You don’t have to sign up or get approval to use the new cross-platform BBM Video. You do need:

  • An Android device with OS 4.4 (KitKat) or higher OR an iOS device with iOS 8 or higher
  • A BBM Contact with one of these devices

In your BBM, initiate a chat session with your contacts just like you always do, and then just tap the video icon in the upper-right corner. BBM will give you the option of making a voice or video call (provided your contact is also eligible to participate). Tap the video icon and start talking. (You might want to check that you don’t have any salad in your teeth first.)

Give it a try, and let us know what you think.

Positive Reception

The feedback and press on BBM Video has been overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic so far. We’ve seen a lot of thanks and praise. This has been the most-requested feature from our users, so we’re happy to bring it to you.

And please, keep the requests and feedback coming. We’ll continue to listen and build out the features you need and want. On that note…

More Coming Later This Summer

BBM video chatThis 1.0 version of BBM Video is part of a larger BBM release, currently slated for later this summer. That version will also include a couple of other exciting feature requests from users: phone number registration, improvements to group chats, and expanded message retraction for stickers, files, and other content. Plus, Android users will be able to share larger videos with their contacts. And iOS users will be able to mute chat and group notifications.

Phone-number registration has consistently been at the top of the customer request list. This new feature will allow iOS and Android users to create a BBM account with a phone number instead of an email address. This streamlines the sign-up process significantly and provides a more reliable way to secure your contact network. It also creates a more reliable method for resetting forgotten passwords, as people are moving toward having a single phone number and keeping it longer than they keep their email addresses.

Phone-number registration will also make it easier to find and add new BBM Contacts. BBM will be able to match the phone numbers of people in your device’s address book with people who have registered for BBM with their phone number. BBM will then list these contacts in your app as People You Know, meaning you can initiate a chat with them in just a few taps.

Don’t worry: we’re not doing away with PINs or Custom PINs. We’re simply adding another option for added flexibility, giving people more than one way to sign up.

Thanks again for the positive response and enthusiasm to BBM Video. Don’t forget to give it a try if you haven’t already. And stay tuned for more exciting announcements in the coming months.

Six Ways Indonesia’s Cutting-Edge Adoption of Tech and Mobile May Surprise You

Indonesia, BBM, selfie

BBM and BlackBerry are both big in Indonesia. That’s no secret. Since I live in Singapore and work for BlackBerry, I’ve had the opportunity to visit the island nation regularly in the last couple of years. I also travel to the U.S. and Canada frequently, and I’m often surprised that people in the tech industry there (outside BlackBerry, of course), don’t really have Indonesia on their radar for digital. That’s crazy. It absolutely should be.

So, I thought I’d shine some light on this tremendous market, and talk about why BBM is so excited to be a part of it as the market continues to mature.

Indonesia is already well established when it comes to e-commerce (at $12 billion in 2014, the market is estimated to rise to $25 billion this year). Even so, it’s poised for explosive growth. That’s due in part to its young, social and tech-savvy population, but also its growing middle class and ever-increasing internet connectivity.

1. Indonesians are many, highly social and connected

Home to 255 to 260 million people (depending on who you ask), Indonesia is the fourth-most populous country on Earth (after China, India and the U.S.). Indonesians are highly social, ranking fourth in the world for Facebook usage, and fifth for Twitter. (Jakarta has recently been the #1 tweet-producing city.) It’s a young country, with at least 50% of its population under the age of 30. It’s also a tech-savvy market, with 93 million internet users and 52 million smartphone users.

Most important, Indonesia is a mobile-first market, with 93% of people accessing the internet via smartphone. Indonesians have really taken to the technology, and in addition to being active on chat, they’re also enthusiastic mobile gamers and mobile shoppers.

What’s more, we’re seeing double-digit growth in most of these numbers year-over-year. Mobile is already big. It’s getting bigger. And fast.

2. Growing spending power increases business opportunities

One of the reasons for the growth is economic. Home to a consumer-based economy, Indonesia has a growing middle class, currently at about 88 million, and projected to reach 141 million by 2020.

The driver? Lower labor costs than China and other countries. That’s attracting manufacturing jobs – some have dubbed it part of a New China with regard to manufacturing opportunity. I expect to see the same kinds of growth in Indonesian consumer culture and spending as we’ve seen in China in the last couple of decades.

emme23. Increasing internet availability creates connections

The archipelago is currently the world’s fourth-largest mobile market, and is actively improving its infrastructure to support technology and mobile growth. The major mobile operators have been investing heavily in building out the country’s LTE networks in the last couple of years.

And just like in the rest of the world, the costs of devices and data plans are coming down, making smartphones and all the apps and services they bring more affordable and more accessible than ever before.

4. Ripe for innovation

Clearly, there is no shortage of opportunity here. At the same time, there are “archaic regulations,” according to this Wall Street Journal blog post, that can make it a challenging place to do business.

But that, combined with Indonesia’s famously poor infrastructure, can actually be a boon for mobile commerce, leading to innovative local solutions.

Why? Because necessity is the mother of invention. Because the internet, plus mobile devices and apps, can fill in for that missing infrastructure. Take “Emmi” (pictured here). A college student in Jakarta, she saw an opportunity to use mobile tools, her own two feet, design sense and business savvy to build a thriving shoe-sales business. Her business exists, in a way, because of poor infrastructure. It’s hard for students to get around town to get what they need, so Emmi brings what they need to them. The same business model might not work in another area. But for the students in her city, it’s the perfect solution. Brilliant. And she’s just one of the hundreds of millions of Indonesians with ideas, know-how, willpower and a growing access to technology.

5. Big-name firms are investing

Others see the opportunity too, because even with the regulations and infrastructure challenges, well-known venture capital firms – and even the Indonesian government – are investing in the local tech industry. And why not? The cost of investing is lower, and the opportunities are just as big.

6. BBM is #1. And we’re not going anywhere.

Indonesia has plenty of big, thriving tech businesses (like Lazada Indonesia and Zalora Indonesia B2C e-commerce platforms, GO-JEK (the motorbike-based courier, transport and shopping service with over 200,000 drivers nationwide) and lots of well-funded startups. Even with so much activity, the market is still relatively fragmented, with lots of room for new players. There’s no doubt we’ll continue to see new ideas and new companies come and go over the next decade at least.

For years, BBM has been the most-installed and most commonly used app in Indonesia. We are thrilled to be part of this exciting market, launching a number of new services in the last year or so (like BBM Life, BBM Checkout, plus airtime top-up, games and streaming music through the BBM Shop). We also love having a front-row seat to the market’s developments, and a role in helping the industry mature. We have big plans for Indonesia – and we know others do, too. We can’t wait to see what comes next.

Updated: BBM Video Comes to iPhone and Android Users in Canada, U.S., Latin America, Middle East AND Europe and Africa

bbm video beta(Updated June 15th with European and African availability)

BBM users have been clamoring for video calling (as you reminded me in your comments on my recent BBM: Getting Better All the Time post). We’re thrilled to announce that video calling is almost ready for primetime; we’ve launched it (see right) as a beta feature for Android and iOS, as part of the latest version of BBM. Update your BBM to get it (or if you are in Europe, Africa, Latin America or the Middle East – it should’ve started working for you automatically during the month of June).

Please note we initially limited availability because this is the first time we’re launching BBM Video calling, and we want to monitor performance, gather feedback, and iron out any kinks that may arise before we roll it out globally.

(Note: BlackBerry 10 users already enjoy video calls with other BlackBerry 10 users over BBM.)

North America

The beta video feature is available in U.S. and Canada to Android and iOS users. U.S. and Canadian BBM users now enjoy cross-platform video calling with each other.

Latin America

On June 1st, (beta) video calling arrived to iOS and Android users in 26 countries in Latin America. They include Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin, Uruguay and Venezuela. If you are in those countries, the video chat feature should just be enabled now – no need to update your BBM software.

Middle East

We also rolled out video calling capability to users in 17 Middle Eastern countries on June 8th. Among them are Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Yemen, and others.

As in Latin America, the feature should be enabled without you needing to update your BBM software.

Europe and Africa

BBM video debuted in 109 countries, territories and regions in Europe and Africa on June 14th. There’s too many to name here, but chances are good that BBM video is now working where you are.

As above, the feature should be enabled without you needing to update your BBM software.

Note: only video calls within the supported regions can be done today. We plan to launch BBM video calling globally in our July release.

No approval required

There’s no sign-up or approval required to use the feature. When you tap the icon to initiate a call with one of your BBM contacts, BBM will ask whether you want to make a voice call or try a video call with the beta feature (provided your contact is also eligible to participate).

Minimum requirements:

Android: OS 4.4 (KitKat) and higher

iOS: iOS 8 and higher

Transformative technology

BBM users are on-trend in their enthusiasm for video calling. A recent Pew Research study shows that in the U.S., the number of adults making video calls from their smartphones rose by double-digits from 33% in 2013 to 47% in 2015.

What’s driving the enthusiasm? Simple: mobile video conferencing is now a reality. Globally, mobile bandwidth is increasing with the rollout of 4G networks, and devices now have the cameras, software and power that make it possible. Sure, there are some scenarios where good, old-fashioned voice is the better solution. But increasingly, video is taking over as our no. 1 communication technology.

Video is the closest thing to being physically present. We know why that’s more important for personal calls—bridging the distance with our loved ones, like helping grandparents see their grandkids grow. In healthcare, doctors are using video calling to collaborate across distances and save lives, like at Hiranandani Hospital in Mumbai.

In business, live video helps people put faces to names, virtually meet job candidates, make decisions in real time, and save tremendously on travel expenses. Even back in 2013, this Redshift Research study sponsored by Polycom revealed 96% of business decision makers thought that video conferencing removed distance barriers, improving productivity among teams spread across different locations. Now that video calling is a regular part of many businesses’ communication tools, anecdotally, we know that’s true.

Better than The Jetsons

It’s fun to look back at the predictions from just a few years ago about video conferencing, like this one. It makes me think of being a kid, seeing video conferencing on The Jetsons and Star Trek, and wondering if it would ever be possible. As futuristic as they were, one thing those shows didn’t predict was mobility. That would have seemed even more far-fetched! But here we are. (Though, The Jetsons are still ahead of us on the “morning mask” idea.)

Momentum in Latin America, as BBMania Sticker Contest Opens in Colombia

BBManialogoBBMers like using stickers in their chats so much, we can hardly keep up with the demand. That’s why we’ve been launching sticker contests in our busiest regions around the world, including Indonesia, Nigeria and South Africa.

Next up: Colombia! Latin America is also one of our biggest markets, and within it, Colombia is one of the most active. With our new BBMania Sticker Contest, we’re giving you artistic Colombians out there the chance to get your own sticker pack into the BBM Shop!

Prizes include a MacBook Pro, an iPhone 6S Plus and an Apple Watch.

On a growth path in social Latin America

Latin America is a mobile-first market, with the majority of people accessing the internet from mobile devices rather than desktop computers. It’s also the most active region when it comes to social media, with users spending an average of 29% of total internet time on social media – significantly more than EMEA (22%), North America (14%) and Asia (8%).

We’re also seeing a second wave of Latin Americans coming online for the first time. As devices and data plans become more affordable, network speeds and coverage improve, and apps offer more useful services (like messaging, shopping and payments), more people are adopting mobile and making the internet part of their daily lives. That’s translating to a lot of growth for BBM in the region.

BBM-LatinAmerica

We currently have more than 52 million registered users in Latin America, with over 40,000 people installing BBM every day. And it’s an active group. Each month, our customers in the region visit the BBM Shop more than 24 million times and send over 210 million stickers. They send over 366 million messages each day, and read received messages in 8 seconds (on average). The majority of them – 70% – use the platform daily. It’s a platform that keeps getting better, too, with our latest release making more privacy and security features available to everyone.

Loco for stickers

Like their counterparts in other global regions, Latin Americans are enthusiastic sticker users. In Colombia alone, stickers have racked up more than 44 million impressions since we first added them two years ago.

In Colombia, the BBM Shop sees:

  • Over 3 million monthly views
  • Over 14 million total views
  • More than 840,000 visitors each month

Colombians have:

  • StickerguidelineSent over 11 million stickers
  • Viewed over 8 million sticker details
  • Downloaded over 600,000 sticker packs

But sadly, Colombians don’t have any Colombia-specific sticker packs just for them. That’s where you come in.

BBMania sticker contest

So all you aspiring sticker designers out there, it’s time to put pencil to paper (or mouse to pixel) and help us fill out the BBM Shop with what will be our first sticker packs just for Colombians. Illustrate the phrases you use most when messaging. Or feature the Colombia national baseball team, which recently earned a place in the 2017 World Baseball Classic for the first time.

Up for grabs is a MacBook Pro, an iPhone 6S Plus and an Apple Watch.

Submissions open: April 18 – May 15
Voting period: April 20 – May 20
Winners announced: First week of June

For all the details on guidelines and how to apply, visit our BBMania website.

New BBM LIFE Channel Delivers Daily News Content to Indonesians

BBM LIFEWe’re working to make BBM your social hub. That’s why we recently launched the new channel BBM LIFE – a new daily content channel for our customers in Indonesia.

Messaging apps such as BBM are becoming the primary way we stay connected to the people in our lives – work colleagues, friends and family. And increasingly services, shopping and other kinds of commerce are shifting to messaging as well.

We’re establishing a commercial ecosystem around chat in Indonesia, adding a host of services to BBM, the country’s most popular messaging app. BBM LIFE is the latest in the lineup.

BBM LIFE: Quality Content Delivered Daily

Checking the news is one of the first things people do in the morning – on the way to work, over breakfast, maybe even before they get out of bed (I’m not admitting anything.) We don’t have to pick up the morning paper or wait for the evening news anymore. Our mobiles connect us from wherever we are to whatever we want to know. But right now, you might be going to several different sources to get all the news you want.

We’re partnering with the biggest bloggers and content providers in Indonesia to bring you great information about travel, food and gaming, as well as entertainment, humor and news.

Current partners:

  • MBDC Media and its properties, including entertainment and humor site Malesbanget.com
  • VIVAnews, one of Indonesia’s biggest news sites
  • Hipwee, social news site covering entertainment, relationships, travel and inspirational articles

Coming soon:

  • Qraved mobile food ordering app that includes culinary news, dining guides and restaurant reviews and information

Subscribe to the BBM LIFE Channel today at C0022442C.

BBM Brings Together Chat, Social and Commerce

Asian man using smartphoneOur large and active user base in the country – 58 million users – relies on BBM for keeping in touch with family and friends as well as conducting business. There isn’t another messaging app in the market today that can compete with the ecosystem we’re developing in Indonesia.

That ecosystem includes shopping channels from large retailers like Qoo10 and Zalora. It includes BBM Pay, which allows people to pay for goods and services online and in stores via credit cards or bank transfers. It also includes the BBM Shop, which offers airtime top-up, apps, games, stickers and streaming music.

The increased consumer activity on BBM is in turn attracting advertisers to our platform. All the additions have been very popular with consumers and the media, as evidenced by the two mobile social media awards we’ve won in the last year.

We want BBM to be indispensable. That’s why we’re constantly improving the platform and adding services like BBM LIFE that make it more useful, more fun and more valuable.

Why Advertisers Are Rushing to Mobile Video: Targeting, Engagement and Cost-Effectiveness

BBM video ads

Last fall, we launched video ads in BBM, which appear in Feeds as “sponsored content.” I’m happy to report that in just their first few months, we’ve hosted several successful video campaigns in Indonesia. We’re bringing together consumers who love mobile video with advertisers who want to reach our highly engaged user base in many markets worldwide – including Indonesia, where we are the most popular messaging app.

Sony Pictures has promoted several of its biggest features to Indonesians in the last few months with BBM video ads. The film studio ran a campaign for the latest James Bond movie, Spectre, in October and November 2015, one for the thriller The Forest from January 4-10 this year, and another for Norwegian catastrophe drama The Wave from January 12-21.

Pure Baby ran a video campaign promoting its premium baby care products to Indonesian parents from January 15-31, driving video viewers to a dedicated microsite to register for prizes. As we’re seeing enthusiastic uptake and great click-through and viewing numbers, I know this is just the beginning.

Video is advertising’s next frontier

the forestWhy are we so excited about our video ads? People around the world are moving to mobile social media in huge numbers, and ad budgets are following them. Now that improved device technology and LTE networks have made mobile video a reality, it’s a thrilling new way to interact with friends, family and, increasingly, our favorite brands.

In fact, mobile video spending tripled in 2015 from 23% of mobile ad spend in January 2015 to 66% in August 2015.

Mobile video is also widely predicted to keep growing exponentially over the next few years.

Consumers’ adoption of mobile video is evidenced by the YouTube mobile app’s “explosion in engagement on smartphones and tablets” since mid-2014, according to comScore’s 2015 US Mobile App Report from late last year.

By 2019, videos will account for 80% of all consumer Internet traffic, and mobile data traffic will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 57%, according to The Cisco Visual Networking Index: Forecast and Methodology, 2014-2019 White Paper.

Video ads garnered 17 times more click-throughs than comparable static ads in business intelligence firm L2’s recent study, reported in L2 Digital IQ Index®: Fashion 2015.

Better targeting, quicker shopping

Video is engaging on its own, no doubt. But there are other reasons why this is advertising’s favorite new channel: more focused targeting and cost effectiveness.

pure babySocial mobile apps like BBM offer better targeting than previously available to advertisers, in a way that’s privacy-safe. With our customers’ permission, we can use demographic data (location, age, etc.) and behavioral data (what BBM Channels people like), to help advertisers reach the people they want to, increasing the likelihood that they’ll respond. This is really a win-win, because it increases cost-effectiveness for advertisers and increases the relevancy of ads that consumers see.

Geolocation, or being able to serve ads based on the geographic location of a mobile device, is also an exciting new opportunity that will likely become mainstream in the next few years.

Additionally, social mobile video can also offer one-click shopping. That’s where a consumer watches a video from inside BBM, for example, and simply clicks a buy button to make a purchase. BBM is working to bring that functionality to consumers – and we have a start with all our new payment options.

The addition of video is part of our continuing work to evolve our ad units in BBM, keeping up with consumer demand – and providing an effective platform for brands and small businesses to reach them.

BBM: Getting Better All the Time

BBM-user2

We’ve been on a roll lately with updates to BBM, launching three since last September. We’ve shared information about each of these updates when they went live. Now, I’d like to back up and take a more macro view to provide some perspective on where we are, and where we’re going with BBM.

We’re continuing to listen to our customers and build more of the most-requested features into BBM. We’re evolving group and multi-person chats. We’re making BBM Protected an even better messaging solution for security-conscious organizations. We’re giving you ever more privacy and security by allowing you to control previews. We’re also working to make BBM more convenient and more fun.

More Privacy and Security

We know security and privacy are important to you, so many of our recent features fall under this umbrella.

In September, we rolled out screenshot notification within private chats, which alert you if a BBM contact takes a screenshot of your conversation.

Then in December we added the option to delete messages from your device only, without others’ knowledge, on Android and iOS. For those of you with our Privacy and Control subscription, we also added the ability to retract photos within chats on all platforms, and entire chat sessions on Android and iOS.

In January, we gave you the ability to control notification previews for Android. Look for more of these types of features in the coming months.

More Options in BBM Protected

high-priorty-message-high-resOn a related note, we released several important enhancements to our BBM Protected service that makes messaging secure enough for governments and other regulated industries. Those include:

  • High-priority messages: You can now tag high-priority messages within a chat
  • Team chats: You can define a chat subject and invite team members to join
  • Delivered and read notifications: Multi-person chats now show these status notifications
  • Restricted copy and paste: IT admins can prevent employees from copying and pasting within BBM chats

More Control for Group and Multi-Person Chats

Messaging can be such a great way to share information and get to decisions quickly, whether among a group of friends or colleagues. We’re continuing to add all the features you love in 1:1 chats to multi-person and group chats on Android and iOS, including message retraction and editing.

More Convenience

We envision BBM being at the center of your mobile life, so we’re outfitting it with useful services, integration with other technology and simply adding features that make it easier to do what you want quickly.

In the useful services category, we’ve added a number of payment platforms to BBM within the last year, including BBM Money in Indonesia; Interswitch Ltd in Nigeria; PayPal payments in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Spain, the UK and the US; and Pingit in the UK. And in December, we made it easier for you to find your BBM contacts by being able to request a Glympse within a 1:1 chat.

BBM-AppleWatchAs for integration with other technology, September brought Apple Watch support. You can view, respond to and send BBM messages from your Apple Watch. Then in December, we added iPhone 6s 3D touch support, allowing you to use a firm press on the BBM icon to quickly send a message, update your status or profile picture, or initiate a search from the home screen.

Speaking of search, that feature debuted in December, giving you the ability to search BBM chats, contacts, groups and Channels. Other streamlining features for Android users include the ability to send a broadcast message to an entire contact category (previously available on iOS and BlackBerry 10 only; also added in December), and the ability to scroll through group picture galleries, added in January.

More Fun

Messaging is fun. That’s a big reason people love it so much. We’re serious about making BBM more secure, useful, dynamic and convenient, but we’re also serious about making it more fun.

In September, we launched our Sticker Club, which gives subscribers access to hundreds of sticker packs.  We also extended the option to customize the order of sticker packs for those of you on Android. (It was already available on iOS and BlackBerry 10.) Also for Android users, we now enable you to customize the font within BBM.

We also added two new social features. The ability to view, like and comment on group pictures and other events within Feeds launched in September. And the option to like Feeds posts came in December, allowing you to see a “thumbs up” icon next to your contacts’ posts. If you like a post, your contact receives a notification, also within Feeds (currently only on Android and iOS).

More On The Way

Messaging continues to be one of the most popular ways to communicate. As more people use it for more things, we’ll keep growing and evolving our app and the services within it. I’m looking forward to finding out what we’ll come up with together next.

Quickteller Mini Update Makes Sending and Receiving Money as Easy as Sending a BBM

Splitting a bill, paying a friend or requesting airtime has never been easier or more secure, thanks to the latest upgrade to the free Quickteller Mini mobile app available in Nigeria for Android, BlackBerry 10 and now iOS devices.

This new version allows you send money or airtime, rather than waiting for the recipient to request. It’s as simple as sharing a photo or file while chatting with a contact on BBM. To send or receive money from BBM, download the Quickteller Mini app, tap the Quickteller Mini icon in BBM and send your BBM contacts a message with the payment details. They respond to the BBM and the money is transferred.

Quickteller Mini saves you having to carry cash. Just click to make easy and quick payments. It really couldn’t be simpler!

Visit bbm.quickteller.com for more information and instructional videos about Quickteller Mini.

BBM Sticker Design Contest Now Open in Nigeria

stickamania2Hey, BBM fans: Do you sticker? If so, you’re definitely in good company! Since BBM stickers were launched in 2014, millions of BBM users have used stickers to add personality and flair to their messages.

Since creative expression is at the heart of BBM stickers, last year we launched a series of BBM sticker contests to allow people around the world to design BBM stickers based on unique characters and local interests. Winning designers get cash prizes and the opportunity for their stickers to joins the thousands of BBM stickers available in the BBM Shop.

Our contests last year in Indonesia and South Africa were super popular – more than 7,000 entries were received in our first Indonesia contest in July, and we’ve just announced the winners of our December contests in South Africa and Indonesia.

But now it’s Nigeria’s turn to show its creative side! BBM Stickamania Nigeria is now open, and we want to see your most creative, expressive sticker ideas.

If you’re a Nigerian illustrator, designer or creative talent who wants to enter the contest, visit bbmstickamania.com to learn more, read the design guide and register. Here are a few other key details:

  • bbm sticker contest 2Sticker packs must be submitted by February 12.
  • The voting period is from February 8 to February 19.
  • Contestants should encourage their friends and family to vote online for their sticker pack, as well as promote what they have created via social media.
  • The 20 sticker packs with the most votes will be judged by the BBM jury, who will select the Top 3 winners and 10 runners-up Nigerian’s BBM Stickamania.
  • Winners will be awarded with massive cash prizes going from 25,000 to 500,000 Naira. Voters also stand a chance to win 10,000 Naira Airtime Recharge.

BBM stickers are especially popular in Africa. “In Africa, the BBM Shop gets over 20 million views each month and has tallied 60 million total stickers sent and received,” said Matthew Talbot, SVP, BBM, at BlackBerry. “This contest opens the doors for more talented artists and designers to make their own unique stickers come to life in BBM, and we are hoping to see huge enthusiasm in Nigeria.”

Do you think you can win? Then get creative, design your stickers, submit them and tell your friends and family to vote for you!

For further information about the BBM Stickamania Terms & Conditions, please visit: http://bbmstickamania.com/

BBM Sticker Update: Free Minion Pack and Contests in South Africa, Nigeria and UAE

BBM Stickers Minions Emoji

Everyone needs Minions, those little yellow creatures from the Despicable Me movie franchise that starred in their own flick last summer. Minions live to serve their masters. Now, they live to serve you, as a free sticker pack in BBM.

Minions add to our ever-growing collection of over 600 sticker packs in the BBM Shop. See all the Minions stickers here. And, keep checking back to get the latest packs. We add more every week.

Design your own BBM stickers: Contests happening now!

Stickers are all the rage these days. To help fuel the demand, we’re giving you the chance to get your own stickers into the BBM Shop! Over the next few months, we’re hosting BBM sticker contests in four of our largest BBM markets: Indonesia and South Africa in December, Nigeria and UAE in early 2016. The contests will add to the growing catalog of creative stickers our customers love to share.

We hosted a successful contest in Indonesia in July 2015, receiving over 7 thousand entries submitted from all over the country. (Read about the designer of July’s winning sticker pack here.) We just closed entries for our second BBM Sticker Contest for Indonesians, so keep an eye out for the announcement of the winner!

We’re also running our first “BBM Stickathon” in South Africa right now, with entries due December 16. The BBM Stickathon offers South Africans the chance to create stickers based on unique characters and win a range of exciting design prizes, as well as the opportunity for the stickers to be made available for download from the BBM Shop.

BBM_Anniversary_Sticker_Party_DecorIn the first quarter of calendar year 2016, we’ll open similar contests in Nigeria and UAE. If you’re an illustrator or designer, or have talented friends and family members in any of these countries, encourage them to learn more and submit their designs online.

We’ll be sure to keep you posted on the short-listing and judging process!

Stickers by the numbers

Launched in 2014, BBM stickers have become one of the most important and interesting components of BBM. With BBM stickers, users can chat with friends or family in a unique and interesting way. There are literally thousands of stickers you can share on BBM today, giving you a fun way to express yourself.

Stickers are increasingly popular worldwide. Here are some fun facts about BBM stickers:

  • 5 billion: Number of stickers sent and received each month on BBM
  • Tens of millions: Number of people who send stickers daily
  • Weekends: When people buy and send the most stickers (Thursday through Sunday)
  • Millions and millions: How many people download our free, branded sticker packs – like Minions!

Be sure to download the free Minions sticker pack in your BBM, spread the word about our upcoming contests, and keep an eye out for the new crowd-sourced stickers appearing in your BBM Shop soon.