BBM not dead: All what we learnt from BBM’s first-ever event in Nigeria – BBM Messenger Digital and Mobile Innovation Event


So, the guys at BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) called an event, BBM Messenger Digital and Mobile Innovation Event, for the first time ever in Nigeria to discuss BBM Messenger upgrade, latest app and BBM Messenger news.

Did I hear you say this is coming too late!? Well, with the fact that Nigeria is the giant of Africa, however, population-wise, and therefore the biggest market in Africa, there is no better time to go into the market inasmuch as you have a nice product to sell.

The first thing said Adam Pattison, BBM Messenger, VP Americas and EMEA, at the event is “BBM is not dead”. Practically, what came to my mind was “Really?” as his view of the messaging app is totally contrary to popularly believe.

I would later find out that the BBM messenger has grown from a messaging app, too, in addition, become an ecosystem in its own world.

Feyi Olubodun, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Insights Publicis, sharing perspectives on the next stage in the digital and mobile space in Nigeria, said the African consumer relates with brands and products in varying different ways.

He said nobody cares about Africa and quoting Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, he said 30 years from now, 80 percent of the world’s population will live outside the United States and Europe, and that any company that actually wants to future-proof itself, has got to have an African strategy.

“By 2050, which is just around the corner, Africa would have 51 percent of the world’s population, and out of that, about 25 percent would be in Nigeria.

“The way I like to communicate this is, forget the numbers and imagine this if they don’t fix these our roads by then when you drive out of your gate, the traffic will start from there,” Feyi said.

He surmised that the world is hungry to see innovations springing up from Africa.

Adam explaining BBM is not dead in the African market, even in Nigeria, said the entire business of BBM is geared around millennials, stressing that millennials completely change the way digital is consumed. “Chat, SMS, messaging is driving the change 100%,” he said.

Adam said the African market is very important to the business of BBM, and that they are working with Mobi Hunter to give BBM the visibility it needs in order to grow the app exponentially.

“We are listening though, we understand, I’ve heard so much feedback: this platform is great, this is good, this is lovely, this is nice, it looks shiny, but where is your marketing?

“We are not doing it; we are not telling anybody anything; we are just letting the platform just stay as it currently is.

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“That is going to change. As I stand here now, I could say, that is going to change,” Adam expressly said.

He said BBM has evolved from a pure messaging application for communication (text and video) to a social eco-system unifying chat, social, commerce and services including games.

BBM, as one of the largest mobile messaging applications, moved beyond BlackBerry devices, and now has over 100 million installs on Android, iOS, and Windows since it was created in August 2005.

On 27 June 2016, Creative Media Works, a division of PT Elang Mahkota Teknologi Tbk – one of Indonesia’s largest media, content and technology businesses – announced a strategic alliance with BlackBerry Limited to accelerate consumer BBM’s research and development in offering new and exciting features, services and content to the global consumer market.

As part of this strategy, BBM is making its APIs available to expedite the growth of partners and consumer services such as: content – music and video streaming, games, sports, news, celebrity blogs, horoscopes and more; commerce – shopping, gifting and coupons/vouchers; online to offline commerce – booking movies, travel, health services, real-estate or job postings, and finance – P2P payments, money transfer, mobile phone re-charge, and utilities billing.

Creative Media Works now operates under the BBM banner as a stand-alone consumer-focused business with teams operating from Waterloo, Mississauga, Ottawa, Singapore, Jakarta, UAE and South Africa.

This means that the BBM messenger will in no distant time begin to get the visibility it has been lacking, which actually created the impression that the messaging app was dead.

According to the CEO/Co-Founder of Mobi Hunter, Timothy Lambrechts, Mobi Hunter has 16.5 million monthly active mobile users on BBM, 2go and Nimbuzz in Nigeria only. Of this figure, he said BBM users in Nigeria amount to 4.3 million people.

Amao Johnny, Mobi Hunter Country Manager for Nigeria, expatiating on the figures said the 4.3 million Nigerian users of BBM spend 9 hours+ messaging weekly. He went on to say 30% of them earn more than N200,000 p.m, 79% has university education, 60% use BBM 7 days a week, a 70% of users are on a contract with data, and that 55% have shopped online before.

Figures, they say, don’t lie, and with the guys at BBM reiterating commitment to give the BBM brand more visibility in Africa, especially in Nigeria, the BBM social eco-system is set for some good tidings once again, as there is no better time to go into the market inasmuch as you have a nice product to sell.

Amao Johnny, Sarah Nolte, Timothy Lambrechts and John Butler
L-R: Amao Johnny; Sarah Nolte, Senior Business Development Manager, BBM Content and Marketing; Timothy Lambrechts, and John Butler, Regional Director Africa at BBM