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BBC to share breaking news, not cute stickers, through Line messaging app

The BBC has become the first international news organization to open an official Line account. It’ll be using the instant messenger app not to send cute stickers to journalists, but to share breaking news alerts with international audiences during the day, and has chosen the service due to the ease with which video can be sent to users.

Line, for those who don’t know it, is an astonishingly popular messaging app. Earlier this year it had 400 million registered accounts, and offers an exhaustive range of features to its dedicated users, including audio and video calls, a camera app, and the ever-popular stickers. The app is available on iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone, giving it a vast potential audience.

The BBC’s news stream will contain the expected short text-based stories, plus audio and video content. It’s the latter which captured the BBC’s interest, having experimented with Whatsapp and BlackBerry Messenger in other countries, but found the systems lacking when it came to streaming video content. The bite-sized 15-second clips will provide watchers with the essential facts on a big story, with the benefit of minimizing the amount of data needed to watch.

The previous messaging app experiments were almost solely performed on a local, single-country level. Line’s wider reach, according to the BBC’s apps editor, will help assess if “there is value in a global news proposition.” It won’t flood its friends with messages though, and expects to send out no more than a couple of push alerts each day.

The BBC’s feed will be viewable under the official accounts tab in a select few countries. The U.S. is joined by Australia, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, and Singapore. However, Line users elsewhere in the world haven’t been left out, and can add @BBCNews to their friend list to receive updates.