Following the announcement in February that Rovio would be introducing a cartoon series called “Angry Birds Toons” later this month, the company today revealed that the cartoons would actually be bundled inside Rovio’s Angry Birds mobile games.
Starting the weekend of March 16-17th, the new cartoons will appear in a dedicated channel in Rovio’s gaming lineup, as well as on select on-demand channel providers, smart TVs, other connected devices, and on select TV networks around the world. In the U.S., the company has partnered with Comcast, which will run the cartoon on all its video platforms, including Xfinity on Demand, online at Xfinity.com/tv, and in the Xfinity TV Player app on Samsung Smart TVs, with Roku and other platforms to follow.
Elsewhere in the world, Angry Birds toons will run on FOX8 in Australia, JEI TV in Korea, ANTV in Indonesia, Cartoon Network in India, MTV3 Juniori and MTV3 in Finland, the Children’s Channel in Israel, 1+1 networks in Ukraine, Gulli and Canal J in France, SUPER RTL in Germany, TV2 in Norway, Canal 13 in Chile and Gloob in Brazil. Activision, Paramount Pictures, BlackBerry, and Sony Pictures are partnering with Rovio at the launch of the Angry Birds Toons channel.
In order for mobile users to watch the series, they will first have to download an app update in order to unlock the new channel button in the game’s homescreen. The series, which will feature 52 episodes, is meant to serve as another extension of the Angry Birds brand, which has long since moved beyond being just about games. Rovio licensed its brand to Hasbro for board games at the end of last year, it has activity and amusement parks, and a huge merchandise lineup, which cartoons, of course, will help to plug.
But the cartoons will also help the company engage users and push them to re-download and relaunch Rovio’s gaming lineup. Just this month, Rovio made its original Angry Birds free after it had fallen out of the top 80 highest-grossing iPhone apps for the first time since May 2010. At the time that the paywall came down, Rovio also added 15 new levels. With new cartoons showing up in the apps on a regular basis, Rovio is thinking beyond just boosting installs. It’s also about boosting engagement metrics, meaning the number of times the app is launched, and how long it’s used each session.
The Angry Birds franchsise topped 1 billion cumulative downloads last year and had 263 million MAUs as of December 2012. The company has also recently revealed a revamped Brand Advertising Partnership team, which is led by former Apple, Millennial Media, and inMobi execs.