I popped along to the above session here at BlackBerry Live earlier today to check out what the panel of BlackBerry staff as well as a couple independent business owners thought about how BBM Channels would affect marketing.

With 60 million BBM users currently, things are going to grow massively once BBM rolls out to iOS and Android - which means BBM Channels is going to go the same way. The panel seemed to be under the impression that this kind of mobile marketing won't replace traditional marketing but what it will offer is an additional option.

Being social with your smartphone is growing beyond belief. In fact - one of the panel had recently worked on a UK TV show which required viewers to vote for contestants. The amount of smartphone users that voted far outweighed telephone calls or SMS which is a big switch.

Although Channels is part of BBM it is it's own separate application so your BBM friend updates aren't going to be overwhelmed with Channel updates. There will be Hub integration but like Facebook and Twitter - Channels should have its own separate tab.

With the BBM Channels hitting beta today globally go grab if if you can as BlackBerry are very much after feedback. This thing needs to be perfect when it rolls out to the masses.

So as far as I can make out Channels is going to be great for marketing. But like BBM you will only get Channel updates/chats from the organizations you choose to follow.