BBM Channels has legs (and sexy girls in yoga pants, too!)

Go BBM Channels!
By Kevin Michaluk on 16 Dec 2013 01:31 pm EST
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This is the post where for the first time I publicly state that I'm GENUINELY EXCITED about BBM Channels. When first unveiled at BlackBerry Live, I admit I wasn't actually all that optimistic or enthusiastic about the new BBM feature. With other social platforms like twitter, instagram, facebook, tumblr, etc. so well established, could BBM Channels really differentiate itself in features? And even if they did build out a feature set that seemed worthwhile to Channel owners, would non-BBM Channel owners (just regular BBM users) take to following channels and participating with them?

After yet again spending some quality time in BBM Channels this weekend, the evidence is beginning to appear that Channels may just have more legs that I initially thought. A lot more. When it comes to the performance metrics of CrackBerry and all our Mobile Nations sites, I'm always clued in on a daily basis to where things are at. Somehow though, I managed to neglect to pay attention to our CrackBerry BBM Channel stats the past few weeks. With BBM Channels now out of beta, we shot up in subscribers from around 11,000 to over 60,000. Amazing! Of course, CrackBerry has an established audience and brand and is tied to BlackBerry, but it was still great to see this growth in such a short time. And the views, comments, and likes on a post by post basis are really quite impressive (see image above). 

There's definitely room to improve channel discovery within the app, but looking at featured channels and searching around for others, I found quite a few with decent subscriber numbers and engagement. An apps channel with over 80,000 followers. The Porsche Design channel has over 23,000 followers. And of course, my all time favorite channel - Sexy Girls in Yoga Pants - has over 1,500 followers (C000288CC). These numbers are not huge, but it is definitely still early days for BBM Channels. It's not out on iOS or Android versions of BBM yet (hopefully that's coming soon) and BBM hasn't put too much mainstream fanfare behind it yet.

I think growth will come though, and what I'm happy to see is the steady improvement in BBM Channels. There's a lot to love about the way BBM Channels works. I love that unlike other networks, there's no profile page for me where you can see everything I'm subscribed to. As in as long as I don't post comments on a channel, outside the channel owner nobody else would know that I follow Sexy Girls in Yoga Pants unless I tell them. By comparison, on Twitter I'm forced to maintain a separate account for all of the uhh.. sketchier things I like to follow that I'd rather others didn't know. And as a channel owner, I love the immediacy of the viewership stats. And I love that I can turn on "chat hours". I've done this a couple times on my personal CrackBerry Kevin channel, and it's awesome. Being able to go into a one to one conversation with your subscribers is a lot of fun. I also like the ability to report a post (comment) has been added, which has really toned down the channel spam which was a rampant problem in the beginning. There's still a bit of channel spam, but not nearly as bad it was.

So much has changed in BBM Channels that we'll follow up soon with a more up to date video walk through, but in the meantime I just wanted to spread the word to all the entrepreneurial early adopters out there that if you haven't given thought to starting a quality channel, you may want to. If you do, I think subscribers will follow. And if you put in real effort, there's a good chance your channel might get featured, in which cases a LOT of subscribers will follow.

FINALLY, I noticed in my searches that as of now there is no Sexy Guys in Yoga Shorts channel, which feels really wrong and unfair to me knowing that there is a Sexy Girls in Yoga Pants channel. So to ensure fairness and equality, I have taken it upon myself to start the first Sexy Guys in Yoga Shorts channel. The photo below gives you a little taste of what you'll find there (that's a photo of me, taken moments ago, easing into a downward dog). You can subscribe to it at C001F2412. Namaste. ;)

CrackBerry Kevin in Yoga Shorts

Reader comments

BBM Channels has legs (and sexy girls in yoga pants, too!)

142 Comments

I disagree.

Unfortunately, I don't think BBM Channels will be successful at all. BlackBerry is trying to make BBM into a social media platform, which it is not. It's a social messaging platform. What BBM is trying to do with channels, Twitter already does really well. Why would brands and artists broadcast on BBM Channels when they already have millions of followers on Twitter and Facebook?

They have to find a way to monetize that is part of the core experience. It just feels awkward using Channels. It doesn't feel part of BBM at all. It's hidden inside the menus and once you get there it just feels like you're inside a different app...

BBM has the potential to be the top Messaging platform, but they have to find a new way to monetize. Look at what Line & Wechat are doing.

Play Starcraft? Join our Channel: C001242DE

Sell sticker and emoticons pack :)
1M x $1 is an extra $1M without having to put too much effort into it :)

I wouldn't mind having Newsfeeds right in BBM. BBM Channels (depending on the group) can fill that need for me. It's growing on me. I hope to see even more. BBM Weather BBM Traffic baked in would also give another reason to make it my first stop each day. Lastly, BBM integration with voice commands and speech-to-text. (I hate to admit it, but animated emoticons within chat wouldn't hurt either). :-)

BBM Channels has to be a separate icon on the home screen. As a hard to find option in BBM it doesn't have the exposure to be useful.

Having said that, it combines much of what is good about the other social media platforms in a single package and as such could be very successful.

Monetizing Channels will be easy enough once they have enough consumer engagement. Not only by having dedicated product channels at a fee, but also from selling ads on third party channels. It's a dream platform for advertisers.

And BlackBerry need to expose an API so other developers can offer services/products. That way developers will drive engagement.

I agree. The photo was not expected. I didn't think that Channels would take off like it did. I am also pleased at this.

Aspiring Entrepreneurs check out My Channel C001CAE75

Hey two more execs leave blackberry come crackberry get the story up :) lol. John chen isn't playing games at all I love what he is doing so far still a little nervous about the results this Friday though....

Posted via my awesome 5 inch BlackBerry Z30 :)

Yeah, I heard similar. Going about cleaning up quietly aye Chen. Lol

What's your Qollar ID? The shirt addict plan...stay tuned. C00122EC9

The latest update to BBM via BlackBerry World should give you BBM Channels, you should find the tab in the left menu in BBM app

@3_M4N

The picture in this article doesn't encapsulate BBM Channels as a whole.

Posted from my Z30 via the CB app

Yo I checked out the Sexy Girl In Yoga Pants channel. My goodness! Loving it already! lol

#PoweredByBlackBerry

I see you have a Naughty and Nice list in the background. Do those on the Nice list get Z30's? If so, this is my official application to get onto that list :)

This is your best write up by far! The guys in yoga shorts with the photo is sheer gold! Really cracked me up! Still loling
Thanks Kev!

Posted via CB10

Kevin - I told Umi, last week, that I saw you on an Egg Nog carton and asked "how long have you been missing"?

He did not know what I was talking about.....

Is this a U.S.A. thing?

Lol, indeed it is. We don't do that here in Canada so I wouldn't expect a lot of people to get your joke. Although not a joke as I, too, feel like he's less around lately.

Posted via CB10

Add BBM Money NFC payments,and BBM Channels Can be a Secured Social Brand Advertising e-Commerce social platform on steroids !

Posted via CB10

The new Mercedes F1 website has a page dedicates to their channel, good to see its being supportes

Posted via CB10

It is good, I started my channel just for fun and it went double the subscribers in less than a week after it became publicly available.

If you share the same passion as I do. Nissan GTRs then check GTR Lifestyle @ C001247FA

You are now in my Bingo Book

Think I'm going to skip the guys in yoga shorts channel Kevin, but do let me know if you want me to send in some pictures!

Sure, we'll have to setup a email address for photo submissions that we can post. Maybe we'll sell a Sexy Guys in Yoga Shorts calendar too. Proceeds to charity!

I'm in.

heh.. in the spirit of the photo's in question, I sit on the board of a prostate cancer research charity.. just sayin..

I'm in! Tell me where to send my yoga photos!

My yoga channel which has over 100 subscribers!

C0001AC1D-

From my new z30

If you'll accept guys who are in less than their ideal physical shape but not quite obese, I'm in! I'm sure I'd drive up the # of female subscribers!! :-)

Ok, root of a question I have on BBM Channels. Why/how can the Channel operator/owner/creator?? be able to receive posts/submissions to their Channel (If desired)(Added option). The specific Channel can then decide to add/delete the content (Provided within the idea of the channel) Why are we going to an outside EMAIL when we HAVE BBM Pins to share. If the Channel gets too much spam like posts, excommunicate the problem. Likewise, a subscriber must have ability to excommunicate as desired. No need to deal w/ EMAIL at all? Isn't the idea to get more ACTIVE use of the overall BBM platform? Group formation is limited from the inception for some Channel ideas. Useable but not universally desired. I desire to facilitate conversations within my channels (Uncensored) and provide a platform of mutual interests of third parties to find each other via my channels interest focus. Now, is a modification like this even possible with BB10 software/hardware?
An example: Fishing, I can only post so many pictures, videos, ideas etc., If my subscribers could add content, fishing ideas, stories, pictures, etc., can come from around the globe. Would make much more interesting, interactive, and provide opportunities to meet like minded people from around the world with similar interests, ALL within the BBM world = Powerful!
Appreciate any feedback. Keep up the good work...

Click on any one of the channels you're interested in following, after which you will find an option to join the said channel. Click on join and after acceptance below every picture/open window you click on the little message icon to start or join a chat. Hopefully this helps.

Posted via CB10

Sexy Girls in Yoga Pants is gone for me. I had access to it in beta but now I think it's region locked. In fact, several channels related to sexy girls are gone now. This sucks...

No marketing by BlackBerry will kill it, no one will care. It has do much potential.

Ps kevin I'm not joining your yoga channel lol. But enjoy girls

Posted via CB10

I find discovery to be something that needs to be addressed. Without repeatedly plugging the Channel I run I can't seem to get subscribers.

Posted via one of my BlackBerry devices

I really used to love BBM channels and had channels with over 1000 Subscribers.. and they weren't featured yet..
But bbm channels have been blocked in the UAE :S
Also voice and video chat :S

C001230B6 New wallpapers for your BB10 device

For some reason, your BBM Channel will not enter into my BlackBerry. It's almost like some universal force does NOT want me to see the pics there. I get to the final digit of the Channel number and my finger just will NOT push that button. Oh well, no big loss.

Good luck with it, Kevin! :)

Both me and the Lady have been members of SGIYP for awhile. She found it. Now I suppose I have to do her a solid and Join Kevins. Uhh

Posted Via my second Z10

Thank you Kevin for the Bbm channels link!!! I need to go home and get wit the wife... damn I am hungry for some yoga pants!!!!

Posted via CB10

I have been getting more and more involved with my channel, and have actually had several good chats on psts made, as well as pretty good comment dialogs going.

They need to get this out soon. Getting video and voice on the other platforms as well, and integrated into channels.

Imagine getting onto a Brands channel, seeing a product, calling over bbm voice, and paying right from the channel. It has potential.

Posted via CB10

No. Not me. If I do subscribe, I might have to use the report function.. so far, it is "non touchable ".

Posted via CB10

I can't believe i just joined Sexy Guys in Yoga Shorts channel... I still don't know how i feel about that. lol
Your Welcome Kevin.

It sure is coming along nice and dandy! Love the channel community as well!

Photos captured using BlackBerry devices - C00016D81

Kevin,

Good to know, but do you have to tempt us married guys with the Yoga-pant girls!?

Man, I hope that the channels don't go to the dogs with an extension of porn.
Does anyone know if BlackBerry has rules against this (like YouTube)?

I think the only major issue I see with Channels is the number of links to outside of Channels. CrackBerry is guilty of this as well. Instead of original content, a teaser paragraph is posted with a link to the blog. From what I have seen, people will go to the blogs and comment, leaving out the social aspect of Channels.

I would really like to see more original content in Channels. If all it is going to be is a launching point, why subscribe to a Channel when I already see the story in a dedicated app, or on Twitter?

Posted via the Android CrackBerry App!

Yeah, that's a tricky one. We need to work on that. 

Expect to see more channel only content soon. Special contests, deals, quick tips. Open to other suggestions too!

I think you just said it yourself though, that's a lot of what twitter is too.. links to sites, photo's, blogs etc, and it's doing well.. I view channels very much as a twitter alternative.. I like the interface better, and as Kevin said I like having the ability to follow certain things without all of my business connections knowing.. (women in yoga pants aren't my thing, I'm more of an admirer of women in tight shirts if you get my drift but the same concept applies) so I think that's going to continue to be a lot of the bbm channels content (the links I mean, not necessarily the women) but I'm not convinced that's a problem.

Got a channel and like it, though not many follows to our store yet, but it's a work in progress.

Z30 :D - The Final Destination - 859 Portage ave, Winnipeg Mb Clothing|Footwear|Headwear|Headshop|Tobacconist|Tattoos - C00016D82

Not having an easy way to browse channels by category is a killer for me.
So are the comment sections, full of goofy icons in usernames and comments, PIN numbers, etc... it's visually cluttered, hard to read and getting full of "Add me #PIN#" comments.

Frankly I've used it less now that it's been out of beta.

Before you are trying to run you have to learn to walk.... BBM Channels seems to be a helpless try... If BBM wants to become different (and better) than WhatsApp (f.e.) the limitation of 6 MB for attachments has to be abolished... What about video-streaming via BBM or raising the limitation up to 50 MB? That could be an unique selling point...

Love it! Started my own channel for my book blog which features book reviews, author guest posts and interviews, as well as upcoming book releases and book cover reveals. C00236813