For Outfit7, talk is more than just a big game.
The Cyprus-based entertainment company’s increasingly popular Talking Friends apps have now surpassed one billion downloads, and the brand’s YouTube views are steadily approaching eight figures, too. Outfit7′s CEO Samo Login did some talking of his own with iKids on parlaying that mobile success into online videos, physical toy extensions and a new TV series.
You’ve now reached 700 million YouTube views for the Talking Friends videos (which include webisodes, music videos, user-generated content and Talking Friends content such as trailers). How have you made the transition from mobile to online video a smooth one?
We look at our characters not only from an app perspective because we are a global entertainment company. It’s easy to bring people to YouTube on mobile devises if they’re already engaged with apps. For the consumer it’s irrelevant if they’re using an app or watching a YouTube video – they don’t perceive it that way, for them it’s just one click away for more content.
How did your relationship with Disney fuel your online brand awareness?
We worked with Disney Interactive last year to create webisodes and two music videos – the first single sung by Talking Tom and Talking Angela entitled “You Get Me” received 130 million views. Bringing fans in and engaging with them there [on YouTube] is quite easy to do and the same is true for websidoes. The webisodes we created with Disney got views outside of YouTube, as well as inside our apps and on Disney websites, so it was a great experiment to see how audiences would accept other formats of content. And for Disney it was good because even though they don’t own the IP, they got to see how to leverage mobile distribution through other media.
The first Talking Friends app – Talking Tom – debuted in July 2010, and Outfit7′s licensing strategy has taken shape over the past three years. What’s on the horizon in the offline space?
We’ve been busy working on the licensing side of things, getting into to physical goods and we have had success there, especially with interactive toy games. Our interactive toys have been outselling our regular plush even though they are a higher price point, which is a clear sign to us that consumers want more interactivity. Toys that communicate with mobile devices and integrate with other digital devices is something you’ll see more of, especially in the developed world where there’s a high usage of mobile devices. We only did sales through online stores for last year’s Superstar Toys line, but we need get more physical stuff on the market.
Why are Outfit7 and competitors like Rovio moving to become full entertainment companies and not just mobile developers?
Apps will be become more and more like any other mature media – like newspaper and TV. Mobile is just another channel to deliver content, and we are aware of that and focusing on having so many different ways to deliver our content. Right now, we are really into extending to short animation, music, toys, games and further into traditional TV. In the future we plan to have a variety of touch points including a TV series that’s already in development and planned to be out in Q4 of 2014. It’s a 52 x 11-minute CGI comedy. We don’t have a contract in the US yet, we are developing it in-house and are going to MIPCOM next month to present it and establish partnerships. I want to do all of this while maintaining the theme of self-expression.