“I have seen the future, and it works,” journalist Lincoln Steffens famously, if inaccurately, said in 1919 about his visit to the Soviet Union. But BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield may have better luck with a similar forecast he’s making this morning about the media business after watching a new online cartoon series that Rovio just introduced based on its Angry Birds franchise. It’s the latest sign that “the pace of innovation is accelerating and that traditional media industry gatekeepers run by executives such as Brian Roberts, Rupert Murdoch, Bob Iger, Sumner Redstone, Jeff Bewkes, etc. do not hold the same grip on content creation and distribution that they once did,” Greenfield says. While traditional moguls try to tighten their grip on pay TV, they’re slowly being outflanked by competitors playing by their own rules on the Web. For example, there’s Glenn Beck’s initiative to create a potent online media business, Netflix’s slick TV series House Of Cards, and VEVO’s effort last week to launch an online-based service with 24/7 scheduled programming — much like a traditional TV channel. “While it is certainly not an easy path, we expect brands to love the idea of advertising/sponsoring content that talks to an engaged global audience (very different than the traditional TV world where nobody is watching commercials and online banners nobody is looking at),” Greenfield says. He notes that Angry Birds Toons “is not a one-time event, but rather an ongoing strategy to build far deeper engagement with the global Angry Birds game-playing user base.”
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