Transmedia Entertainment & Marketing

IBCoM: CM2052

Angry Birds, the Transmedia Success

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

Reference list:

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


15 comments on “Angry Birds, the Transmedia Success

  1. Sydney M.
    September 20, 2012

    It is amazing how companies are taking transmedia marketing to a completely different level. I feel like Angry Birds is a new non-traditional form of transmedia and only exemplifies how companies can use consumers to promote and produce even more of their content, for free. Us as people, seem to be the most valuable form of advertising and a crucial to the success of various products, especially those that thrive on transmedia marketing.

    • Linda Weidinger
      September 20, 2012

      I’ve also noticed the big hype around the game Angry Birds and it was really crazy. How out of nowhere you suddenly heard only “do you know the game Angry Birds???” and suddenly everywhere on many Internetpages and in Ads you could see the Angry Bird. I think the game is so successful because it can be played anywhere, even if you don’t have so much time, because the levels are not very long and its also not so difficult – so everybody is able to play!!! I’ve also heard that the game is a forerunner for a movie. If that’s true, then the game is a very good advertisement for the film because Angry Bird has already many fans.

      • Charlotte Caspers
        September 21, 2012

        I was thinking about that one of the things that is still missing in the transmedia process is: a movie! I mean Rovio played it well and angrybirds is a huge success, but if you compare it to pokémon for example, pokémon put it to the next level in a sense that they made movies and comics aswell to provide people with the whole experience. I think that angry birds is not at the level of pokémon yet but it could be! at least it would make the whole transmedia product more complete!

  2. Karim Rabbani
    September 20, 2012

    I find the example of Angry Birds very interesting because it shows a different pattern in how a transmedia franchise is created. Usually transmedia franchises start on a different media platform like a book, series or movie with (in-depth) information about the characters. Angry Birds however started with a app game and then expanded over different media channels.

  3. Jean Paul Levier
    September 20, 2012

    I love how Rovio created this whole online buzz around Angry Birds. They even took it offline and ‘played’ it live as shown in your video. This unknown Finnish company worked with what they had and made millions. Its all about being resourceful and now Rovio is well established in the video game world and has intentions to create other viral apps.

  4. selma van slobbe
    September 20, 2012

    I found this a very well thought of subject to use for this assignment as Angry birds is a hype I believe we are all familiar with.
    I, an angry-birds player myself, stumbled upon the game’s existance because it was highest in Apple’s app store chart. I started playing the game and did not really noticed the other media-platforms used to promote Angry Birds.
    Now I am curious, did Angry birds get so popular, and score very high in Apple’s app store chart because more media platforms were used? Or was it so popular even before the other platforms were introduced ?

  5. Yeong Ting Yan, Ashlynn
    September 20, 2012

    I found Angry Bird is a very effective example of transmedia. Angry Bird is a well known mobile game at the beginning. It’s story has been spreading all over the world. Now, it is not only a game, but a brand which has been used for franchising on consumer products. It’s target customer range is wide, from kids to adults. In this case, T-mobile successfully adopted Angry Bird as their new advertising programme, which draw people’s attention on their brand and renovate their company image as fun and creative and suitable for all-age people. Besides, Angry Bird keeps creating new games and thus there’s a quite sustainable development.

  6. Victoria
    September 20, 2012

    I think Angry Bird got popular on the apple store chart because many people left good comments about the game. It was a word-of-mouth delivery and you could download the app for free or just for a small amount.

  7. Thapasya Vijayaraghavan
    September 20, 2012

    Agreeing with everyone’s comments Angry Bird is an interesting and more non traditional transmedia example. As an angry bird player, i have been amazed to witness the rate at which this game became popular. And its also interesting to note the research undertaken by the versions of angry birds – Seasons, Rio and Space. The Space especially is interesting because it takes into account of the physics side of being at space.

    The brand name “angry bird” is now so wide spread that at a blink of an eye, its found on lots of merchandises – lunch boxes, stuffed toys, pillow covers, kids bags and even an angry bird cutlery set. There are also walkthrough videos on youtube which are posted by the fans to help easy navigation through the levels. This shows the presence of prosumer input, which may not be targeted towards marketing, but does help popularise the game.

    As for the introduction of this in the movies, I am really inquisitive as to how this would be integrated and would highlight the borderless limits of transmedia marketing.

    @ selma – It was first introduced for the Apple store. But gained further popularity due to other media platforms catching on. And due to the increased awareness and availability of this game, it is one among the “rated” games in the Apple store. And it soon caught up with other platforms.

  8. Veronica
    September 21, 2012

    Even I know about Angry Birds, and I haven´t even played the game (BlackBerry user, you can laugh about it) – this just shows the success of the app. But I agree with the rest, this is a really good, and different, example of a transmedia success. From what I have read so far, the original platform is normally a book or a TV show. Nevertheless, Angry Birds has proven that even a game can use different media platforms to attract attention and new users.

    But you guys were talking about Angry Bird spin-offs: spin-offs as in a television series? Because if so, it would be interesting to see how the story unfolds and if they make spin-offs for all the characters in the game. I feel as if Angry Birds has a “bright future” ahead of it and could go in so many directions, that is if, as you said, Rovio can keep the game at its high point of popularity.

  9. Elisa van der Linden
    September 21, 2012

    @Veronica, the spin-off is game (correct me if I’m wrong).

    I also think that it is very interesting that they created a whole transmedia franchise around a game. Most of the time, the game is just an extension of, for example, a TV-show or movie. Also, interesting is the fact that fans make their own angry birds movies on youtube! This shows how engaged these fans are.

    • Chloe Boekaar
      September 21, 2012

      I agree with everyone that it is a great example of a transmedia franchise.. I would have never thought of Angry Birds! But after reading the essay it is unbelievable how popular a game can be! Out of the blue I started seeing Angry Birds everywhere, from tshirts, IPhone covers etc.. In addition to all the fan sites, fan made products and the new game coming up, I think we will be seeing a lot more of angry birds in the future!

  10. Jamilla
    September 21, 2012

    Angry Birds is probably the most ‘modern’ version of Transmedia entertainment. I think it is quite unique that a transmedia story starts off as an app game. It was amazing how all of the sudden Angry Birds was EVERYWHERE. In the media and on the streets, everyone was talking about Angry Birds. I only just got my first smartphone, an iPhone, when the hype started and I downloaded several versions of the game. I like that it is a very simple concept, yet a kind of funky story (I mean, colorful birds bombing pigs and cardboard boxes…?!). I think it would be very interesting if the games were indeed a ‘teaser’ for an upcoming movie. Add some personality to those crazy birds and the world will love them even more!

  11. Soumaya Benkhattab
    September 21, 2012

    I think you did a great job explaining how Angry Birds became a great success and what the key factors are. Angry Birds stands out from other transmedia franchises because it is not centred around a book, series or movie. Most importantly, if a company wants to be successful, it is about creating context over content. The Youtube video you showed was a great example of this. You can see people are smiling, there is sense of community when playing the game because everyone can relate to it and that is what they all have in common.

  12. Pingback: Transmedia Takeover | alexdenise

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