- BBM is developing a PC to Mobile encrypted social messaging platform.
- Stickers are being implemented into BBM to draw revenues from user base.
- Breaches such as the Heartbleed bug demonstrate the value of security in 2014.
With senior director of BlackBerry (NASDAQ:BBRY) Messenger (BBM) Business Development David Proulx tasked at the job of drawing money out of BBM, his first move is the implementation of Stickers. According to Blackberry, stickers are meant to:
"Add some more fun to your BBM chats with the introduction of stickers available in the new BBM Shop.
BBM customers will be able to download a variety of sticker packs right inside BBM from the BBM Shop. Each sticker pack contains between 20 and 25 stickers and features content developed by talented artists or relating to a theme or a character like CosCat, Gilbert's Tales or Bubble Bot, as well as sticker packs featuring content from popular brands including Shaun the Sheep and WWE. To start, sticker packs will either be offered for free, or cost US $1.99, or an approximate equivalent amount in the local currency, and will be billed through the device's app store. With WrestleMania 30 just around the corner, WWE is planning to give away a free sticker pack to its fans through BBM."
Stickers look to be a positive move and it always helps open a channel for additional revenues in a consumer base that has shown that it is willing to spend dollars on mobile entertainment. Just see Candy Crush maker, King's (NYSE:KING) IPO which raised 500 million on its first day of Initial Public Offering for a 1.1 billion dollar valuation.
While implementing Stickers is a good move, it only works if you have a large user base to draw revenues from. Blackberry has 85 million active users relative to Whatsapp's 450 million, and it will undoubtedly pick up users who have stopped using Whatsapp due to the acquisition by Facebook. In fact, privacy regulators have warned against using Whatsapp (NASDAQ:FB).
Privacy regulator Thilo Weichert believes that by using Whatsapp, users' privacy may be compromised. He says, "Facebook will try to extract data it gets from WhatsApp, merge it with the communication metadata it already has from its servers and attempt to monetise the combination of data."
BBM's best bet for monetization is to grow its user base and by growing the number of platforms that can operate BBM. When the finished product of BBM, it will offer all social messaging mediums such as Voice Chat and Video Chat which is accessible via:
- PC to PC
- PC to mobile
- Mobile to Mobile
Furthermore, with the security on Blackberry encryption so secure, it would take four million years on brute force computing to hack it. Such a secure service should offer relief to the millions of users who have had to change passwords from the Heartbleed security bug that exposed social messaging platform such as Facebook, Gmail (NASDAQ:GOOG), Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) and DropBox
With a product that offers versatility of all platforms while a secure platform to communicate on, it would be easy to see BBM selling itself. Service would presumably be free for mobile, but with a revenue channel for implementing BBM on PC platforms either through a flat fees or royalties. A business enterprise market would undoubtedly be one of the spaces they would be successful in given the number of security breaches that have occurred in 2014.
Developing a PC platform is a game-changer and a significant differentiator amongst competitors such as Whataspp, Viber and Skype, which are limited to the platforms they offer to communicate, or the security that they provide in protecting confidential information. As security continues to be the name of the game in 2014, Blackberry's BBM will become more actively used and more easily monetized.