Rovio adds video to its games, will promote 'Angry Birds' cartoon

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Rovio Entertainment is launching a video distribution channel spanning across all of its Angry Birds titles, enabling fans to view the company's new Angry Birds Toons animated series via smartphones and tablets.

Angry Birds Toons features 52 episodes, with a new installment released each week. Rovio and its network broadcast partners will premiere the series on March 16; the following day, the first episode will be available in all Angry Birds apps and on video-on-demand platforms including Comcast's Xfinity on Demand in the U.S. To watch the series through Rovio's new Angry Birds Toons channel, users must download the latest update to any Angry Birds game, which will feature the new channel button on all homescreens from March 17 forward.

Angry Birds Toons explores the saga of the title characters and the Bad Piggies who stole their eggs, promising gamers new insights into their personalities and the world they occupy. Rovio first announced the project close to a year ago. The company has also indicated a feature-length animated Angry Birds film is in the works.

The Angry Birds mobile game franchise topped the 1 billion cumulative download mark in 2012. Rovio has spun off the property into stuffed toys, t-shirts and snacks. Last month, the publisher unveiled a new advertising division spearheaded by former Apple, MTV and Millennial Media (NYSE:MM) executives. The unit will create custom advertising programs for brands like McDonalds, Warner Brothers, Campbell's and others, letting them promote their products and services inside Rovio games--for example, inserting a branded item into the background or foreground of an Angry Birds level, or integrating the product directly into the game mechanics.

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