Roku to host TV version of Angry Birds game, offer shorts, merchandise

Mobile phone phenom Angry Birds is coming to the television set. Angry Birds creator Rovio today said it has entered into a strategic partnership with over-the-top delivery specialist Roku to bring Angry Birds, Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio video games to Roku. Rovio said it also would launch an Angry Birds video channel featuring Angry Birds animated shorts, and sell Angry Birds merchandise via the Roku Channel Store.

angry birds

Roku and Rovio Mobile will launch an Angry Birds (pictured) video channel.

The move by Roku to include casual games is a first step, but the company says it's in talks with other casual game providers and aggregators, and will make additional announcements including availability details within the next few weeks.

"Angry Birds is the most popular and fastest growing casual game, yet [it] has been trapped on mobile devices. We believe there's a huge market for games like these on the TV," said Roku Founder and CEO Anthony Wood.

Roku launched its over-the-top delivery box three years ago and has generally led its segment in devices sold, with its entry-level device being sold for $60. The company acknowledges it has sold more than a million of them so far and expects to sell three million by the end of 2011; current revenues are about $47 million with the company expecting $150 million in 2011, Woods said.

It was among the first devices of its kind to offer streaming movies from Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) streaming player, and in 2009, it added the Roku Channel Store, the first true app store and open development environment for long- and short-form streaming entertainment to the TV. It currently offers more than 250 entertainment channels, including movies and TV shows from Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) Instant Video, Crackle and Revision3; live and on-demand sports from NBA Game Time, NHL GameCenter Live and Ultimate Fighting Championship; music from Pandora, MOG, Rdio, and TuneIn Radio; photo and video sharing from Flickr and Facebook.

Angry Birds was released by Rovio in late 2009 and became a worldwide phenomenon within one year. Rovio has since released a number of Angry Birds games for all major smartphone platforms, as well as PC and Mac. Today, the Angry Birds games have been downloaded more than 200 million times across all platforms.

For more:
- see this Wall Street Journal article
- see this release

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