BlackBerry introduced “BBM Channels” during their BlackBerry Live developer conference in May. This is an extension of their popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service and is a “a new social engagement platform” that allows the 60 million BBM users to connect to the things of interest by creating different “channels,” plus allows you to “follow” and receive latest updates (similar to Twitter).
BBM Channels is currently in beta, but it seems BlackBerry has a bigger game in mind. They recently posted an open position for a Director Media Sales for BBM Channels in the UK that “will assume responsibility for revenue generation.” Specifics of how one would generate revenue within BBM Channels was lacking, however a survey to those in the BlackBerry Beta Zone suggests we’ll possibly see the likes of a ‘sponsored invite’ flood our feed, similar to Twitter ‘sponsored Tweets,” and Facebook ads.
The survey noted that “Channel owners will be allowed to advertise their Channels by sending invites to BBM users within the channel owner’s target demographic. Users will receive the invite, and be able to preview the Channel, then choose to subscribe or decline the invitation to subscribe. This will be a limited ad unit, with users never receiving more than 3 sponsored invites in a single month.”
This was simply a survey and not confirmed, but is one way BlackBerry might eventually monetize BBM. No indication if the BBM Channel owner (publisher) will receive a percentage of ad revenue. This move would certainly help increase adoption and interest.