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BlackBerry looking at how to monetize 20 million new iOS, Android BBM users

Mobility

The numbers are in and BlackBerry’s launch of its BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) service on Android and iOS platforms has proven popular with users. But for a company under the financial spotlight, the question remains: how will all these new users impact the bottom line?

BlackBerry reported this week that the free BBM app for Android and iPhone devices was downloaded more than 10 million times in the first 24 hours it was available. After one week of availability, BBM now has more than 80 million monthly active users, including over 20 million on Android and iOS.

“It is great to see so many people downloading BBM, but the true measurement for us is engagement – the connections being made and the conversations in which our BBM community engages. The power of BBM has always been the active, real conversations and interaction that our customers enjoy,” said Andrew Bocking, executive vice-president of BBM at BlackBerry, in a statement. “From here on out, we will focus on active users of BBM and will no longer focus on simple download numbers.”

When it comes to monetizing those new users, a BlackBerry spokesperson told CDN that BlackBerry does not currently realize any revenue gain from BBM users, and declined to discuss any cost to the company associated with onboarding and accommodating 20 million non-BlackBerry users. The company did indicate though that some sort of monetization strategy is being considered.

“BBM will remain a free app, but we are definitely looking at monetization streams that could include advertising or sponsored content,” said the spokesperson. “However, we currently have no plans to use advertising in BBM chats. We will not compromise the private nature of BBM chats.”