A Blackberry sign outside the company's offices in Waterloo, Canada. Picture: REUTERS/MARK BLINCH
A Blackberry sign outside the company's offices in Waterloo, Canada. Picture: REUTERS/MARK BLINCH

Chat service BBM Messenger, better known as BlackBerry Messenger, is being revamped beyond messaging, with among others, the addition of music video-streaming services aimed at promoting new artists.

Run by Indonesian-based Creative Media Works, BBM now boasts more features including news, rewards programmes, video-streaming and games. The once biggest instant messaging service lost traction over the years and has since been overtaken by services such as WhatsApp.

BBM still has 2.1-million monthly active users in SA and the app is available on the Android and Apple’s iOS operating systems. In Nigeria, a large market, it has 4.2-million active monthly users.

BBM CEO Matthew Talbot said the additional services would give users a one-stop platform for popular content such as news, sport and music.

"Music is just the first of the STAGE360 categories that BBM Messenger intends to launch. The goal is to create other categories that will fall under the 360 service such as comedy, short film and fashion." STAGE360’s Julian von Plato said STAGE360 was a platform for new artists to be discovered. It aims to expand beyond the country’s borders.

Talbot said the group planned to team up with mobile network operators to zero-rate data on BBM. It also wants cellphone manufacturers to preinstall it in their handsets.

BlackBerry sold the BBM brand, intellectual property and technology licensing rights to Emtek Group, Creative Media Works’ parent, in July 2016.

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