Everyone has been talking about BlackBerry's decision to bring BBM to the competition. It's huge news for sure, but what has almost been lost in the wave of cross-platform excitement/disappointment is the new BBM open beta which brings along BBM Channels. This is hands down the most underrated news of the whole BlackBerry Live 2013 conference.
(In case you haven't tried out BBM Channels, check out our hands on video for a quick explanation of what it entails.)
With BBM Channels, anyone can create a channel. Not only could I start my own channel, but I could, technically, go and start up a Nike or Twinkies channel and say it's official. I, obviously, have nothing to do with Nike or Twinkies, so like with other social networks, BlackBerry will have to eventually implement some type of differentiator for the official channels of brands.
This verification process will definitely cost those brands some money, like a subscription channel fee, for example. And that'll be the price to pay for having direct contact to your subscribers' devices via the BBM Updates screen. This type of discreet advertising will definitely be appealing to brands of all sorts, from all areas of the world.
It won't all be advertisements though. Don't be surprised if brands start offering special discounts, coupons, and services through BBM Channels, thus bringing even more subscribers on board. BBM Channels will expand as well. Right now, you can post up to 400 characters, smileys and pictures, but we can definitely see this stream widen to include GIFs, videos and other content down the line.
BBM Channels is the first stepping stone into making BBM a fully-fledged social network. It will help extend BBM beyond just instant messaging, and broaden the social media term in front of eyes. While no one will ever officially say it, BBM Channels is one of the biggest reasons BlackBerry is taking BBM cross-platform. It will bring a new stream of content and revenue to BlackBerry that we've never seen before.
Have you tried BBM Channels yet? Don't forget to subscribe to our BlackBerryOS channel by scanning the barcode below or adding the PIN: C0001B7B0