Rovio is no longer just a game developer. The maker of the hugely successful Angry Birds franchise is swiftly moving in to the video space with its ToonsTV mobile video platform. Originally only Angry Birds cartoons were shown on the network, but the company announced today it is now working with third-party content providers.
The ToonsTV channel is ad-supported, but it’s all about building an engaging brand experience. A recent example is Sony, which released an exclusive five-minute clip on the channel for the coming "Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2." According to Rovio the trailer was viewed more than 1 million times in its first week.
Some of the partners that will produce exclusive content for Rovio include The Jim Henson Company, National Geographic, Stan Lee, Hasbro and Xilam Animation. Rovio is no stranger to brand partnerships, as the company has worked with Fox, Disney, NASA and, most recently, Lucasfilm.
Rovio CMO Peter Vesterbacka points out that video consumption is transitioning such that mobile is becoming the first screen. At a press conference this morning, he said, “We're there; that's where the fans are. If you’re a brand and you want to reach these guys, we can help.”
The Rovio team believes in a fan-first approach, and when it comes to working with partners, Michele Tobin, VP for global brand partnerships and advertising, said the advertising team brings that same ideology to brands. Ads are “native, organic experiences that fans are embracing,” she said.
The company has also branched out into physical toys, seeking to bridge the offline and online gaming experience by launching a toy product and companion app for "Angry Birds Star Wars 2" on the same day.
According to Tobin, the preroll ads also are incredibly successful, with 90-100% completion rates in some cases.
Vesterbacka said he is confident about the longevity of the Angry Birds franchise. “We are not building for 100 days, but building Angry Birds for 100 years.”