Transmedia storytelling has been of a great usage in the past couple of years. Many companies use transmedia to promote and expand their products and increase their sales. One of these is Rovio, Finnish company who introduced an app game Angry Birds in 2009. This essay will further elaborate on this example of transmedia franchise, and discuss the different platforms used, different narratives, explain how the app was launched and how and why it became so successful. The conclusion will include the explanation why this example is relevant to the topic of transmedia franchise.
“Transmedia storytelling represents a process where integral elements of a fiction get dispersed systematically across multiple delivery channels for the purpose of creating a unified and coordinated entertainment experience,” (Jenkins, 2007). Thus, the definition of Jenkins clearly states that transmedia storytelling takes place across different media. Each media carries a variation of narration. The application Angry Birds was primarily released for iPhone only, however, Rovio decided to launch it in as an app for androids, MacOS, Windows Phone, Playstation 3 and more (Bouça, n.d.). We can see in this example that the company expanded the media their product was distributed through. This broadened the audience as well as opened new door for product variations. As the definition of transmedia storytelling already suggested, different media carry different variation of the narrative. In this case, the different media does not necessarily carry various alterations of the main plot of the story, however they carry short films that add up to the narrative. Other than that, Angry Birds are being featured on TV commercials, such as promotion of Superbowl (Harket, et al., 2011). Rovio also introduced the merchandise which also adds up to the general story, which basically portrays different kind of birds who are trying to destroy pigs who stole their eggs. The game was released having only 1 level “Poached Eggs” which included 3 themes of 21 games. Later, in 2010, more levels were introduced to the audience as well as new birds and destruction powers. This happened thanks to the huge success of the game. Rovio has sold over 50 million apps all around the world, what accounts to approximately 106$ million in 2011.
Next to all the usual merchandise for the game angry birds, a lot of user generated content was created. One of the biggest examples is the angry birds live youtube video from mobile phone operater t-mobile. T-mobile took the virtual game to the real life world by recreating the game on a square in Barcelona. People could take out there phone aim the bird in the game and in real life on the square the same thing would happen. This video already generated over 15 million views. Nowadays, the challenge for Rovio is to keep all the new spin-offs connected to eachother. This september a spin-off will be created based on the piggies that you are targeting in the game. The challenge for Rovio will be to keep his transmedia succes as succesful as it is now so it could only become an ever bigger hype and billion dollar game.
By Monika Hlubinová and Daniel van Vliet
Jenkins, H (2007). ‘Transmedia Storytelling 101’.
Harker, M et al. (2011). Marketing applications: from Angry Birds to happy marketers. Academy of Marketing Conference 2011. Liverpool UK.
Bouça, M. (2012). Angry birds, uncommitted players. DiGRA Nordic 2012 Conference: Local and Global – Games in Culture and Society.
D, Graziano. (2012). Angry birds generated $106 million for rovio in 2011. Retrieved September 17, 2012 from BGR.com: http://www.bgr.com/2012/05/08/angry-birds-generated-106-million-in-2011/