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愤怒的小鸟立志比肩米老鼠

Dan Mitchell 2011年10月18日

Rovio暗示其可能将于明年上市。这家公司《愤怒的小鸟》及其衍生产品十分火爆——但这些是否足够撑起一个堪与迪士尼比肩的娱乐帝国?

    到目前为止,对于其大受追捧的《愤怒的小鸟》(Angry Birds)及其衍生产品,Rovio Entertainment公司还没走错过一步。这些被激怒的小鸟们可谓无处不在,日进斗金。最初的手机游戏仍然十分流行,而现在市场上还有了毛绒玩具,根据游戏改编的电影和电视剧也在进展中。这些小鸟甚至还获得了广告代言合约,比如在谷歌(Google)Chrome浏览器制作的一套滑稽电视节目中露脸。

    Rovio公司的营销总监皮特•温斯特巴克对彭博电视台(Bloomberg Television)称,这家“赚得盆满钵满”的公司正在考虑明年上市。但不论《愤怒的小鸟》及其衍生产品现在有多么流行,也不论这家芬兰公司在营销方面做得多么聪明,没人能保证这种红火能够一直持续下去。人们可能会对这些小鸟心生厌倦。上市之前,Rovio可能还至少需要推出一款大热的产品——一款与《愤怒的小鸟》没什么关系的产品。永久的经销权很少能够仅仅建立在某一个角色的基础上。

    温斯特巴克向彭博表示:“迪士尼(Disney)以关于米老鼠的黑白动画起家。任天堂(Nintendo)做马里奥做了26年。而《愤怒的小鸟》诞生还不足两年。”没错,但实际上这两个例子都与Rovio的情况不大相同。迪士尼有米奇,但之后该公司还推出了白雪公主、皮诺曹、小飞象、小鹿斑比等等,不一而足。迪斯尼创造了米奇,但这个老鼠的形象不过是打开了一扇门。米奇领着迪士尼推出了首部全长动画片《白雪公主和七个小矮人》 (Snow White and the Seven Dwarves)(这部长篇与米奇一点关系都没有),随后该公司又开始进军电视、主题公园等领域。

    任天堂在推出马里奥兄弟(Mario Bros)之前的几十年,是一家做贺卡和玩具的公司。上世纪70年代,任天堂甚至是街机游戏和家庭游戏市场的主力之一,数年后马里奥才问世。无论如何,任天堂曾经是,现在也依然是一个平台,或者说是一系列平台,玩家可以在这些平台上玩很多游戏。同米奇一样,马里奥不过是打开了一扇门,它不是整个经销权所在。人们可能会买任天堂游戏机来玩《马里奥兄弟》这款游戏,但假如这款游戏机只能玩这一款游戏,估计没什么人会掏腰包。

    不过,目前来看,Rovio形势一片大好。温斯特巴克向彭博表示,该公司的价值比彭博估计的10亿美元“稍高一点”。除了之前提到的那些产品外,该公司还销售《愤怒的小鸟》T恤衫,戏服甚至菜谱。据报道衍生产品收入占该公司总收入的10%到20%。这款游戏在已经覆盖了所有主要的移动平台、机顶盒以及游戏机。Rovio已经开始进军社交媒体,其中包括Facebook应用。

    毫无疑问,《愤怒的小鸟》有望成为Rovio的米奇——该公司的核心标志。但假如Rovio想成为娱乐行业的常青树,它还需要除了这些小鸟以外的产品作为支撑。曾经红极一时的《点心宝宝》(Cabbage Patch Kids)可谓前车之鉴。

    译者:项航

    FORTUNE -- Rovio Entertainment hasn't made a wrong move yet with its massively popular Angry Birds franchise. The enraged avian creatures are everywhere, picking up wads of cash in their beaks. The original mobile game is still wildly popular, and now there are plush toys on the market and movie and TV deals in the works. The birds are even getting endorsement deals, such as their appearance in a hilarious TV spot for Google's (GOOG) Chrome browser.

    The "insanely profitable" company is thinking about going public next year, Rovio's marketing chief, Peter Vesterbacka (a.k.a Mighty Eagle), told Bloomberg Television. But however popular the Angry Birds franchise is now, and however smartly the Finnish company is going about marketing it, there's no guarantee that the fame will last. People might get sick of the birds. Before it goes public, Rovio probably needs at least one more hit -- one that is at most only tangentially related to Angry Birds. Permanent franchises are rarely built on one character alone.

    "Disney started as a black and white cartoon about this little mouse," Vesterbacka told Bloomberg. "Nintendo has been working on Mario for 26 years. Angry Birds is less than two years old." True, but neither of those cases is really similar to Rovio's. Disney (DIS) had Mickey, but then it had Snow White, Pinocchio, Dumbo, Bambi and on and on from there. It created a mouse, but that mouse simply opened the gates. He led Disney into the first full-length animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves (which had nothing to do with Mickey) and on into television, theme parks and the rest.

    Nintendo was a greeting-card and toy company for decades before Mario Bros. It was even a big player in arcade games and home consoles the '70s, years before Mario picked up his first giant hammer. And anyway, Nintendo was and is a platform -- or rather, a set of platforms -- on which one can play many games. Like Mickey, Mario merely opened the door, he wasn't the whole franchise. People might buy a Nintendo console to play Mario Bros., but few would buy one of that was all they could do with it.

    For now, though, things are looking great for Rovio. Vesterbacka told Bloomberg that the company is worth "a bit north of" the $1 billion Bloomberg estimates. Besides the aforementioned do-dads, it sells Angry Birds t-shirts, costumes, and even a cookbook. Merchandise reportedly makes up 10% to 20% of revenues. The game is available on all the major mobile platforms, set-top boxes and game consoles. Rovio has begun making inroads to social media, including a Facebook app.

    There's no question that Angry Birds can be Rovio's Mickey Mouse -- the company's central symbol. But if it wants to entrench itself as a permanent entertainment fixture, Rovio will have to bet the company on something more than a single set of characters. Remember the Cabbage Patch Kids?

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