Angry Birds creator Rovio said its new ToonsTV animation channel has surpassed 1 billion views, demonstrating that entertainment distributed through a mobile game application represents a powerful new way to reach viewers.
Seven months after launching "Angry Birds Toons" through its popular game app, Rovio Entertainment said the company has achieved the viewing milestone. The Finnish company said it would create a second season of "Angry Birds Toons" for 2014, as well as spinoffs dedicated to other game characters, Bad Piggies and Stella, the pink bird.
Rovio launched the "Angry Birds Toons" series in March through its game app as well as through Internet-connected smart TVs and devices. The series also aired on more than 20 television networks worldwide.
BTIG media analyst Richard Greenfield wrote that this strategy allows Rovio to serve as its own gatekeeper, building its own content library and creating a meaningful video platform where the company controls the economics.
"Investors have not paid significant attention to how far Rovio has come in the past seven months," Greenfield wrote in a blog post. "That is going to change."
Greenfield estimates that ToonsTV is carried on more than 25 million devices, giving it a bigger distribution platform than the nation's largest cable TV distributor, Comcast. He projects that the potential audience will continue to grow, thanks to fresh content, like the just-released "Angry Birds Star Wars II," and more devices connected to the Internet.
Other Hollywood studios have begun to take notice.
Rovio said it had struck deals to bring more content to its channel, including "Stan Lee's Chakra the Invincible" from Pow! Entertainment, specials from Hasbro Studios, "Amazing Animals" from National Geographic Kids, "Fraggle Rock" from the Jim Henson Co. and the French animated series "Oggy and the Cockroaches" from Xilam Animation.
"Given the size and reach of our massively engaged audience, it seemed only natural to extend beyond our own storytelling and partner with the best content creators to bring our fans even more fun entertainment," Rovio Chief Executive Mikael Hed said in a statement.