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RIM rolls out content partners for BB10

Significantly boosts its app store's consumer appeal with a host of deals with movie, TV and music publishers


Published: 28 January, 2013

READ MORE: Research In Motion | App Store | Mobile Content | BlackBerry

Two days ahead of the make-or-break launch of BlackBerry 10, RIM is whetting users' appetites with some advance news, in particular about its content partners. It has announced a list of multimedia partners for the revamped BlackBerry World app store, which will not feature premium video downloadsand movie rentals.

Video partners include 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, MGM, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, Walt Disney and Warner Bros, while there is TV programming available from ABC Studios, BBC Worldwide, CBC/Radio-Canada, CBS, NBCUniversal and Univision Communications. At launch, video content will be limited to the US, UK and Canadian markets.

This dramatically increases the consumer appeal of BlackBerry World which, in its previous guise as BlackBerry App World, stayed close to RIM's enterprise roots, with its strengths lying in business software and a 'quality not quantity' approach supposed to make up for its relatively low numbers of offerings. But RIM has a significant appeal to young consumers because of its BBM (BlackBerry Messaging) service and the new-look store will have far more to offer them, with a profile closer to Apple's market leading shopfront.

As well as the film and TV elements, the store will also feature DRM-free music downloads from Sony Music Entertainment, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group as well various independent labels like Rough Trade. These downloads will be available in 18 countries at launch. The vendor will reveal content pricing along with its first BB10 devices, due to be unveiled on Wednesday and to ship next month. The new BlackBerry World went live on the web last week.

RIM is also rethinking apps pricing to broaden the appeal of its storefront. There will be new pricing tiers, with the lowest ones coming in at a lower rate, and charges will be kept consistent across the globe by incorporating currency exchange rates and VAT requirements. The dollar, Canadian dollar, Euro and UK pound will be supported first.

However, there is still considerable scepticism that BB10 - despite appealing features such as the new content and the BlackBerry Balance virtualization capability - is enough to reverse RIM's decline in fortunes. Brian Blair, an analyst at Wedge Partners, spoke for many when he told Bloomberg: "I have yet to see the key feature in BB10 to get people to leave iPhone, Android or Windows. It will look good, with sleek hardware, but I expect only one quarter of decent sales before I see a decline."

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