Back in August, I visited South Africa and spent some time with a number of BlackBerry s mobile operator partners, BBM s advertising and content partners and some payment providers we were considering for partnership opportunities. Having spent many years working with South African mobile operators and banks in past roles, I have always been amazed at the potential of the market there. But on this trip, I learned something new about the value of the BlackBerry and BBM brands both in South Africa in particular and across the entire continent in general. It s big. That s particularly exciting because of all the growth we ve been seeing in this market in the last few years.
Leaps and Bounds
Africa is clearly a mobile-first market, with the majority of people accessing the internet from mobile rather than desktop devices. We re also seeing many people coming online for the first time in recent years, so BBM has seen quite a bit of growth. Today, we have over 22 million registered customers in Africa, so it continues to be a strong market for us. Nigeria and South Africa are our two top markets in Africa (as I blogged about earlier this year here and here), and we continue to see strength in our user base across Android, iOS, BlackBerry 10 and BBOS. On iOS and Android, we see over half a million new users install BBM every single month. That growth rate continues to accelerate as network effects take root in several markets across the continent. With close to 10 million visits to the BBM Shop per month, and now over 26 million ad requests per day, Africa is also now starting to become a key market for rolling out our monetization strategy. We have recently put our first ad sales representative on the ground, and I m confident there will be more to follow.
Local Traffic in the BBM Shop
In Africa, the BBM Shop gets over 20 million views each month and has tallied 60 million total stickers sent and received. The Shop features more than 25 sticker packs tailored to the African market, like Naija Slang. This focus on local and relevant content helps drive the high numbers.
BBM Payment Options in the Works
We re excited to announce we ll be expanding our mobile payment initiatives into Africa, commencing in Nigeria. BlackBerry has partnered with Interswitch Ltd, Nigeria s largest payment processor, to enable any Nigerian to transfer money or airtime within BBM, as simply as they transfer photos or files.
Separately, we are also expanding BBM Shop payment options. We ll soon include the Firstmonie mobile wallet, which is provided by Nigeria s largest bank, First Bank of Nigeria Limited. We re also teaming up with Mobile Media Info Tech (MMIT), a Nigerian company working to revolutionize mobile payments, to bring secure payments to the BBM Shop. Over the coming weeks, we will also be announcing other exciting developments in South Africa. Coupled with our Indonesian BBM Money and PayPal initiatives, we re quickly establishing BBM as a leading messaging platform for mobile payments.
Great Ad Performance
The advertising markets in South Africa and Nigeria represent two of our biggest global opportunities. Both markets generate substantial daily ad requests, which is reflected in the pricing and performance of the ad units. Although both are seen as developing economies, they are some of our top revenue-generating markets. Additionally, our average click-through rates of 5% are among the highest we ve seen anywhere in the world. Big-name brands such as KFC, Levi s, Datsun, First National Bank and Lenovo move onto the platform each week. We currently onboard an average of 50 individual advertiser campaigns each month across this vibrant and exciting market.
In our two biggest African markets, BBM has the local content and value-added services like payments to keep consumers engaged and attract advertisers. It s quickly turning these ingredients into a thriving platform for communication and commerce.
About Matthew Talbot
I am the Senior Vice President – Emerging Solutions at BlackBerry. I have extensive International Management, Sales and Marketing background in Mobility and Cloud technologies, Financial Services, Telecommunications, and Content in both a Start-Up and Public company environment. This includes stints as a senior executive at SAP, Sybase, Mobile 365 and others.
Andy Marsh, national policing lead for body-worn video (BWV), said the proposal could lead to swifter, fairer and, more importantly, cheaper justice. Hampshire Police, for which Marsh is Chief Constable, has reached an agreement in principle with the Home Office to run a series of pilot tests to ascertain the technology s effectiveness at locations other than police stations. Initially the trial will be limited to minor crimes such as shoplifting or breaching an antisocial behaviour order. The Metropolitan Police, the UK s biggest police force, is planning to equip 20,000 of its officers with cameras, which cost about 500 each, after a trial found they slashed allegations against the force by 33%. The trial the largest of its kind in the world -followed the deployment of body cameras in 10 London boroughs over an 11-month period.
Taser, whose suspect-disabling weapon of the same name is the non-lethal weapon of choice for police forces worldwide, has won a three-year contract to provide 22,000 cameras by next spring. However, the police watchdog, the IPCC, has urged a rethink on how the cameras are worn. Worn on the shoulder of armed officers the cameras produce footage that is unfit for purpose, the watchdog has warned. The comments appear in a report commissioned by the Mayor s Office for Policing and Crime and the College of Policing, which also noted dissatisfaction among police officers with the camera positioning on their vest, which was particularly awkward when driving . Other gripes included the bulkiness of the equipment and poor battery life.
The Met said the cameras are capable of a variety of mounting options and these are being tested as part of this pilot. The report also noted that the wearing of cameras reduced slightly the number of arrests, although there was no impact on the number of stop and searches undertaken. There was no evidence that BWVs changed the way police officers dealt with victims or suspects, it said. Many also believe the cameras could be useful in incidents where physical evidence is difficult to collect, such as domestic violence.
Body-worn video in numbers
- Deployment of the cameras in London slashed complaints against the police by 33%
- In a similar trial in Rialto, California public complaints against officers plunged 88%, while officers use of force fell by 60%
- 92% of the general public think BWVs will make the police more accountable for their actions (Public Attitude Survey, The Met Police)
- Devices have a 30-second video-only pre-buffer, so when an officer presses the record button, the camera captures the previous 30 seconds of visual information.
- Data is deleted after 31 days, unless marked as evidence
Scan the stats and charts for a quick snapshot of the industry or read in-depth analysis of the surveillance market with this whitepaper.
BlackBerry announced Monday that it plans to allow BBM users in Africa (starting with Nigeria) to send money or airtime as simply as they transfer photos or files. It s part of a wider push by BlackBerry to establish a presence in the mobile payments space, especially in emerging markets. In Nigeria and South Africa, the company says it sees over half a million new users install BBM per month, which it believes is allowing a network effects [to] take root in several markets across the continent. Beyond that, it s seeing close to 10 million visits to the BBM Shop per month, and now over 26 million ad requests per day. These strong advertising numbers mean that South Africa and Nigeria represent two of our biggest global opportunities, BlackBerry said, adding that while both are seen as developing economies, they are some of our top revenue-generating markets.
From VentureBeat Ready to think outside the (ad) box? We ve got the secret to successful F2P ad monetization and we re ready to spill the details for free. Sign up here.
The company already offers mobile payments in Indonesia, for example, an emerging country of around 250 million in Southeast Asia that still has many loyal BlackBerry users. But other popular messenger apps in these markets also offer mobile payments/wallets, including Line, WeChat (which just launched its peer-to-peer mobile wallet in South Africa), Kakao Talk, and others. BlackBerry first pushed into mobile payments in June last year when it signed a three-year deal with mobile payments firm EnStream, a joint venture by Canada s three largest wireless carriers, to secure and transfer credit card information between smartphone owners and banks, as we reported at the time. Then, in August this year, BlackBerry brought mobile payments via PayPal to BBM users in Canada, known as BBM Money.
But the reality is that the remaining BBM strongholds are fairly few and far between these days, and it seems unlikely that even BlackBerry s attempt to get back into the smartphone wars in a big way with Android will help a whole lot on that front at least not in the near-term.
We re excited to announce we ll be expanding our mobile payment initiatives into Africa, commencing in Nigeria, Matthew Talbot, BlackBerry s senior VP for emerging solutions, wrote in a blog posting. BlackBerry has partnered with Interswitch Ltd, Nigeria s largest payment processor, to enable any Nigerian to transfer money or airtime within BBM, as simply as they transfer photos or files.
Separately, we are also expanding BBM Shop payment options. We ll soon include the Firstmonie mobile wallet, which is provided by Nigeria s largest bank, First Bank of Nigeria Limited. We re also teaming up with Mobile Media Info Tech (MMIT), a Nigerian company working to revolutionize mobile payments, to bring secure payments to the BBM Shop.
BlackBerry is also seeing over 20 million views per month (views, not visits) on its BBM Shop in Africa, and says 60 million total stickers have been sent and received there. (It offers 25 sticker packs tailored to the African market. )
While emerging markets are clearly important to BlackBerry (they re important to all players in the smartphone game!), it seems that not all are created equal: yesterday, the Canadian company announced that it is pulling out of Pakistan over security concerns. I don t expect it has any plans to pull out of Africa too soon, though.
A global leader in mobile communications, BlackBerry revolutionized the mobile industry when it was introduced in 1999. Today, BlackBerry aims to inspire the success of our millions of customers around the world by continuously pushi… read more 
- ^ Sign up here. (www.brighttalk.com)
- ^ already offers mobile payments in Indonesia (blogs.blackberry.com)
- ^ launched its peer-to-peer mobile wallet in South Africa (venturebeat.com)
- ^ reported at the time (venturebeat.com)
- ^ brought mobile payments via PayPal to BBM (venturebeat.com)
- ^ attempt to get back into the smartphone wars in a big way with Android (venturebeat.com)
- ^ blog posting (blogs.blackberry.com)
- ^ pulling out of Pakistan over security concerns (venturebeat.com)
- ^ read more (www.vbprofiles.com)
- ^ VBProfiles (www.vbprofiles.com)