Launching over tomorrow and Sunday is the Angry Birds cartoon series. Although on the surface a rather uneventful, uh, event, this series is unique in a few ways that we haven’t seen before. Let’s take a look at what they are and what they could mean for the series.
It’s Based on a Game
OK, this isn’t a new thing, but it is new that it’s based on a mobile game. Plenty of console characters have had their animated likeness plastered all over screens (Mario and Sonic being the obvious ones), but Angry Birds is the first game to make the leap from the mobile one.
Naturally, this was almost a given seeing how successful the series of games has been and over 1 billion downloads is nothing to sniff about for any form of media. This existing brand recognition among members of the public will do ithe Angry Birds cartoon no harm at all.
The Show Has a Supporting Empire
Yes, the studio behind the franchise, Rovio, has been harbouring ambitions beyond the video game and unless your vision isn’t the best, you’re bound to have noticed the proliferation of Angry Birds merchandise that was just about everywhere this past Christmas season.
Toys, stuffed animals, branded gimmicks; Angry Birds is on all of them and barring an over-saturation, the brand has the marketing pump well-primed to deliver a series into.
Contrast that with how a normal series builds up attention via broadcasts and tries to sell the merchandise thereafter. The risk to Rovio for the Angry Birds cartoon series is significantly less; a fact that is sure not to be lost on other studios. After all, why sink a huge amount of money into a series when you can cobble together an app or game for much less and build from there. Don’t laugh, Disney has already begun laying the groundwork.
Using the App for the Angry Birds Cartoon’s Distribution
This final point is where the Angry Birds cartoon really differs from the pack. Rovio is offering the series through the company’s Angry Birds mobile app (among other media)
The reasoning behind this is fairly obvious. Rovio’s software is installed on over 1 billion devices and seeing as they have the ability (through software updates) to add the necessary functionality to play videos, why not give their cartoon a prominent placement where it is likely to be seen by the very people most likely to watch!
The studio will release one short a week for an entire year. Each episode will be available through the app and you can be sure that every user will get a notification to say it’s available for viewing, a surefire way to drive up the viewing numbers.
This strategy is curious; sure Rovio will have a massive potential audience, but what of those of us who haven’t downloaded the game (or have Comcast for that matter?) It’s unlikely that people will download the app just to watch the series so is Rovio actually, purposefully, limiting their potential audience?
The signs seem to indicate yes, albeit on scale so massive it may not matter much today. Rovio will have to alter it or find an alternative in the future though. If their ambitions are to be believed, they will have to venture into the world beyond mobile phones to find greater success.
That said, all the best to them. I’ll be watching to see how well they do.