Viber Starts Charging for Stickers

Viber has updated its iPhone and Android apps to offer the first paid-for stickers on its OTT messaging service.

In what the company’s CEO Talmon Marco said was its most interesting platform update to date, Version 4.0 represents the company’s first attempt to generate revenue from the service. Viber is committed to being free from ‘annoying’ ads and is following in the footsteps of the likes of LINE and KaKaoTalk by selling virtual stickers to its users.

LINE said in Q1 this year that it makes more than £10m from stickers each quarter, revealing in Q3 that this was growing by 20 per cent each quarter. But the bulk of its revenue actually comes from its games, where people can make in-app purchases, representing 50 per cent of revenue in Q1 and said to be growing by 60 per cent per quarter by Q3. So Viber games seem like a natural next step. LINE also broke the £100m earning mark in Q3.

Viber 4.0 also offers an instant voice messaging service Push to Talk. The company says it is reducing the typical four-step process for voice messaging – record, send, download, play – to do all four at the same time, cutting the time it takes to share these messages. How vital this function is isnt clear, but it could give a differentiation among the crowd. Version 4.0 also includes message forwarding and now allows users to speak to a group of up to 100 people at once.

The app is also now optimised for Android tablets. This adds to Android, BlackBerry OS, iOS, Series 40, Symbian, Bada, Windows Phone, Microsoft Windows and Mac OS.