Business view

IT HAS been clear for some time that all was not well at Rovio Entertainment. Sales had flatlined, profit had plummeted and other companies like Supercell have earned all the attention. Finally Rovio has acted and named Nokia veteran Pekka Rantala as their new CEO.

THE hangover after a great party can be rough. Angry Birds was not just a hit game; it has entered our culture in a way no other mobile game has. Yet it can be difficult to live up to such past glory. Angry Birds' successor Amazing Alex, a physics-based puzzle game, failed to take off. The Croods village building game received terrible ratings. The attempt to move from free-to-play to pay-to-play games has not gone well. Gamespot's review of the PS3 version of Angry Birds Star Wars grumbled about the "huge premium to pay for the luxury of playing Angry Birds on your television screen."

ROVIO still had the Angry Birds brand, and that asset was certainly not neglected. We were treated with Angry Birds soda and playgrounds and plush toys and Star Wars tie-ins and don't forget that movie, which is scheduled for release in 2016 or thereabouts. Licensing is huge, worth about half of all revenue. Rovio has certainly diversified – they added "Entertainment" to their name – and have branched out into animation and publishing.

BUT here's the thing: indulgent parents will buy their kids Angry Birds soda a time or two, just like they bought Lordi Cola (remember that?) but it isn't going to supplant Coke. Olvi, which sells the licensed soft drinks, said that their sales "declined clearly due to a sales dip in Angry Birds beverages." This is speculation, but if one Angry Birds licensed product is dropping in popularity, it isn't hard to imagine that others are, too.


David J. Cord This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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