Rovio Mobile, not content with dominating every handheld device (and then some) with its Angry Birds brand, now has its sights set on mobile TV with a brand-new series of 52 short-form animated shows set to roll out later this year. Speaking at the MIPTV Conference in Cannes, France, Rovio’s head of animation Nick Dorra outlined the plans for Angry Birds to hit the mobile airwaves as a series of 3-minute shorts. Although the game itself is perfect for several minutes of quick play-through, so too will be the mobile-TV program, a short burst of several minutes of entertainment designed for on-the-go consumption.
Of course, the company wants to be on all platforms (we would expect nothing less), which means the rollout may take the form of an app that is updated with new content on a weekly basis. The company is looking to form partnerships with many OS developers as well as carriers, so it would not be surprising to see dedicated special episodes available only on AT&T or Verizon, much the same way dedicated levels are available only on certain platforms, such as iOS or Android. The show will also hit the Smart-TV market as well, as Rovio already has mapped out an agreement with Samsung to have the new show debut on the company’s 2012 line of televisions.
Most notable with this new plan is that, although many carriers are working to get network television moved to mobile TV, this arrangement has a brand that started on smart devices and now is extending to rule the video segment of it. Mobile TV in the coming years will develop its own characters, brands and shows that actually may start in the mobile realm, device or game, before branching out into an actual weekly mobile-TV show.
The recognition is prime, why work to transform a network TV viewer into a mobile-TV viewer — assuming the brand even makes the transition and/or can be retrofitted for both — when you can develop a mobile-TV show featuring content already beloved on the device?
Rovio knows this, and knows how to move its brand in many directions at once. It’s a good lesson for mobile content producers looking to make a stake in the new wild west of mobile TV programming. Not that Farmville would make for a must-watch mobile TV show (I should not jest; it’s probably already in development), but certainly with thousands of apps on hundreds of devices and platforms, there must be a large amount of characters and branding that can make the leap. Rovio says that some of the top apps are played by users for at least 20 hours a month, lots of time to settle in with an IP or character, so the launch of a show would be a natural extension for many brands.
Plus the global reach of mobile TV, platforms and devices, can sidestep the laborious proving ground of network TV and ratings, and launch into the hands of millions all on the same day.
Mobile-TV content producers should not only be enjoying Angry Birds on their breaks, but really keeping a close eye on where this mobile IP flies to next.
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