#Asia Acquired by Emtek Group, will BlackBerry Messenger back to being cool again?


The acquisition was reported to value at US$207.5 million over six years


Indonesian media mogul Emtek Group today announced that it has acquired the brand, IP and technology licensing rights of messaging app Blackberry Messenger (BBM) in a deal that is reported to worth US$207.5 million over six years.

Emtek Group operates three free-to-air (FTA) television channels (SCTV, Indosiar and O-Channel), a Pay-TV business (Nexmedia) and several IT solutions business. It also operates PT Kreatif Media Karya (KMK) which owns and operates various portals such Liputan6.com, Vidio.com, Bintang.com, Bola.com, and Karir.com.

KMK has also invested in PropertyGuru Group and Bukalapak.

Through the acquisition, Blackberry will make the BBM app program interface (API) available to Emtek in order to “accelerate the growth of partners and service providers.”

Combined with Emtek’s portfolio companies and services, this means BBM users in the future will have access to content (music and video streaming, games, sports and news channels, celebrity blogs), commerce (shopping, gifting and coupons/vouchers), O2O commerce (booking movies, travel, health services or job postings), and finance (payment processing, money transfer, mobile phone re-charge, and utilities billing).

KMK will also establish a Toronto office to work closely with BlackBerry.

Also Read: Blackberry blues. Corporate innovation is broken: Paperclip HK CEO

According to a Statista report, though it remains in the top 10 position, BBM is no longer the most popular with only 100 million users globally (compared to Whatsapp which has up to 1 billion users and even Facebook Messenger with 900 billion users).

In 2013, the once Blackberry-device-exclusive app was made available across Android, iOS, and Microsoft, in an attempt to make it more accessible to users across all platforms.

In Indonesia, GfK reported BBM as the most downloaded app in the country with 90 per cent reach.

Based on our Indonesian correspondent’s observation, BBM is often used by small businesses as a medium to reach out to customers. Small businesses usually have an Instagram or Facebook Page where it posts regular updates of their products, and customers will contact the business through BBM PIN as provided in the page to discuss product delivery and payment.

Will this acquisition save Blackberry’s dwindling position globally?

Looking at Emtek Group’s portfolio companies and its target audiences, e27 believes that the company will become even more laser-focussed on Indonesian market, where it already maintain a strong position.

(Unless there are fans of Indonesian sinetrons as broadcasted by SCTV and Indosiar in France, then we will never know)

In the past years, the way BBM has been developing its features gives the impression that it is attempting to become a holistic messaging platform such as LINE, which provides not only messaging features, but also e-commerce and entertainment features.

For example, in 2014, BBM introduces stickers and BBM Shop, a feature that was made popular via LINE.

Today’s announcement further stressed the direction that BBM is going. As stated by Emtek CEO Alvin Sariaatmadja in a written statement, BBM users will be able to “access exclusive content from some of Emtek’s most sought-after entertainment, technology and digital products and services.”

Perhaps soon we will be playing games, reading comics, and watching short films (such as the one leading up to sequel to Indonesian blockbuster Ada Apa Dengan Cinta?) via BBM.

Whether audience will see this as something cool, or as a happy ending that comes too late, only time will tell.

The post Acquired by Emtek Group, will BlackBerry Messenger back to being cool again? appeared first on e27.

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