Rovio: Evolution of an Entertainment Powerhouse

In the past five years, Rovio has extended its brand into new blockbuster iterations of the game supported by extensive consumer products licensing efforts, publishing titles and industry changing ToonsTV platform for animated content, all aimed at their global fanbase. The Rovio approach is to always remain enthusiastic and authentic and keep delighting fans with imaginative storytelling.

2013 was an action-packed year for the company. It is then that it launched its own distribution channel, ToonsTV, as well as Rovio Stars, a third-party games publishing program. It also opened numerous Angry Birds attractions including six activity parks, located in Spain, Finland and China and produced more than 100 book titles in more than 30 languages across more than 40 countries. 2013 marked three years of very strong growth with solid financial results and kick started the foundation building for the future.

Fast-forward to 2014, and Rovio is flying onto the market with new brands and content, opening exciting opportunities for its consumer products licensing business.

Focused on Quality

“Licensing is almost half of Rovio’s revenue now, so it plays a very important role,” says Naz Cuevas, Rovio’s executive vice president of global consumer products licensing. “We’re extending the brand so it will grow for the next 100 years.”

Rovio places a huge emphasis on product quality, carefully selecting its partners worldwide based on shared values and strong market knowledge. It also understands and appreciates the diversity of its fanbase.

“Our mission is to consistently innovate and evolve both the brand and our offerings,” Cuevas says. “We always strive to do it in a creative and authentic way, we love our partners and our fans and never take them for granted.”

Hasbro is Rovio’s premier toy and game licensee and a great example of how the company operates in its partnerships. After a successful collaboration on Angry Birds Star Wars, the two companies signed an expanded licensing agreement in 2013. Since then they have partnered on Angry Birds Go and are releasing Angry Birds Stella and Angry Birds Transformers merchandise this fall. The key to the successful partnership is a shared value of creating unique brand experiences for consumers.

“Hasbro is a great partner for us. They share our entrepreneurial values of providing the best entertainment experience that is always differentiated,” Cuevas says. “Both our teams collaborate to ensure our expanded fan base remains delighted.”

TELEPODS figurines, developed in collaboration with Hasbro and available this fall, will allow fans to teleport their favorite characters directly into the game. It is an innovative concept that encourages imagination and offers consumers a totally unique way to engage with Rovio’s brands, proving Rovio’s ability to combine the digital and the physical experiences for their fans.

Rovio’s excellence in consumer products licensing was recognized this past June at the 2014 LIMA Licensing Excellence Awards where Rovio won the Digital/New Media Program of the Year award. The annual awards are the industry’s recognition of outstanding creativity and performance.

“To win this award is an honor and a testament of our long-lasting collaboration with key partners and retailers,” says Cuevas. “Rovio is building brands to last a hundred years and this is an amazing start.”

The company was also nominated for Best Licensed Promotion, Best Digital/New Media Licensee and Overall Best Licensed Program.

Building momentum with its licensing achievements and with an eye to further grow their brands through partner businesses, Rovio has expanded its consumer products licensing team this summer, appointing seasoned industry professionals to lead the EMEA, North America, Asia Pacific and Latin America markets. With combined experience from Warner Brothers, Mattel Consumer Products, Sony Pictures and 20th Century Fox Consumer Products, they will strengthen Rovio’s support and presence in each of the key markets.

Brands for 100 years

This fall, Rovio is busy with a release of several key brands that will extend its portfolio well into the future.

Angry Birds Stella is the exciting new brand that was released in September and has generated worldwide buzz. It adds a whole new set of stories, characters and adventures to the Angry Birds world, combined with stunning visuals and challenging gameplay. The brand explores themes of friendship, fun, strong personalities and female empowerment. In the lead is the fierce and feisty Stella, who is joined by her friends Poppy, Willow, Dahlia and Luca as they battle with Stella’s former friend – the good girl done bad, Gale, and her pig servants. Like all the Angry Birds, Stella and her friends have a playful, offbeat attitude and a great sense of humor.

It is a bold brand that is at the same time engaging and inclusive. The first Angry Birds Stella consumer products lines were launched at the Las Vegas Licensing Expo this past June. The products will include Hasbro’s TELEPODS technology, as well as plush toys, apparel, accessories and other products. Angry Birds Stella is a particularly exciting brand for Rovio’s consumer products.

“Stella is an opportunity to do more in particular consumer categories,” Cuevas says. “With Stella, we’ll be doing more in fashion and sporting goods, as well as back-to-school.”

The brand will also be supported by book titles offering more insight into the story and characters, and a 13-episode animated series coming this November.

This fall will also see the release of Angry Birds Transformers, a mashup collaboration between Rovio and Hasbro that will combine the iconic Transformers universe with the quirky world of Angry Birds. The brand will also be supported by a line of TELEPODS. Video teasers for the game have received wide praise from the online world for its nod to the original 80’s Transformers visuals and undeniable cool factor.

Looking Forward

For a company that is so passionate about visual storytelling, it was only a matter of time before Rovio decided to bring its globally beloved characters to be big screen. Last year it announced that the release of the first Angry Birds 3D movie is slated for July 1, 2016. The movie will be distributed worldwide by Sony Pictures Entertainment and is being developed by a team of industry veterans led by producer John Cohen, whose credits include “Despicable Me,” “Ice Age” and “Robots.”

Rovio already has an impressive connection with its audiences through its ToonsTV platform, which just celebrated 3 billion views worldwide. With 52 Angry Birds Toons and 26 Pig Tales episodes released and the second season of Angry Birds and first season of Angry Birds Stella in the pipeline, ToonsTV brings Rovio’s brand to life through engaging animation and stories.

With Angry Birds Stella, Angry Birds Transformers and the “Angry Birds” movie, it is clear that Rovio has set its sights well into the future, building a long-term entertainment business globally, with consumer products playing a key role.

“Rovio is committed to being an entertainment brand,” Cuevas says, adding that the company is committed to sticking to the principles and values that have brought it to where it is today. “We will continue to innovate, push boundaries and remain fiercely humble.”