If you thought the Angry Birds were already active with more than five different games, just wait until this weekend. The aggravated avians’ empire is launching a cartoon series on Sunday.
A Unique Distribution Channel
While Angry Birds creator Rovio chose a few traditional channels to distribute “Angry Birds Toons,” its main method of distribution will be through the games themselves. Starting Sunday, all users have to do is update their favorite game in the franchise (including the “Angry Birds Space,” “Angry Birds Star Wars” and “Bad Piggies” games) and click the “Toons” button on the start window.
This taps into a potential audience that would seem to ensure the series success. According to ExpandedRamblings.com, there have been over 1 billion downloads of “Angry Birds,” and the app boasts 263 million monthly active users. If even half of the monthly users check out “Toons,” it’ll have more viewers than this year’s Super Bowl.
Rovio began work on the series about 18 months ago. It completed 52 episodes for the first season and has already begun planning for a second. According to an article on Forbes.com, the first season will focus on the game’s original characters and draw inspiration from classic cartoons such as “Looney Toons” and “Tom & Jerry.” If the below trailer is any indication, the series definitely has the frenetic pace and slapstick action of its predecessors.
Is Birds’ Narrative Sustainable?
Beloved characters and an assumed built-in audience don’t automatically equal success. Flashback to fall 2007: Insurance company GEICO debut a sitcom starring its cavemen characters. Despite the popularity of the cavemen commercials, the series was a disaster, and it was pulled after six episodes.
What would be the magic formula for success? If Rovio can take the Angry Birds characters, use them to tell stories that resonate with consumers and maintain the brand’s simple, zany humor, it’d be off to a good start. Then, of course, it would have to sustain that throughout weeks or years of episodes.
Since “Angry Birds Toons” is distributed through the games, it will never be in danger of cancellation. Rovio owns the content and the distribution channel. But if the series takes off, the Finnish game maker could be well-positioned to become an entertainment juggernaut. In the process, it takes opportunities for brands to connect with consumers through an installed base of users to an entirely new level.