Rovio Mobile learned from the music industry’s mistakes when deciding how to deal with piracy of its Angry Birds games and merchandise, chief executive Mikael Hed told the Midem conference in Cannes this morning.
“We have some issues with piracy, not only in apps, but also especially in the consumer products. There is tons and tons of merchandise out there, especially in Asia, which is not officially licensed products,” said Hed.
“We could learn a lot from the music industry, and the rather terrible ways the music industry has tried to combat piracy.”
Hed explained that Rovio sees it as “futile” to pursue pirates through the courts, except in cases where it feels the products they are selling are harmful to the Angry Birds brand, or ripping off its fans.
When that’s not the case, Rovio sees it as a way to attract more fans, even if it is not making money from the products. “Piracy may not be a bad thing: it can get us more business at the end of the day.”
According to Hed, Rovio has taken some more positive lessons from the music industry, including how it sees its customers.
“We took something from the music industry, which was to stop treating the customers as users, and start treating them as fans. We do that today: we talk about how many fans we have,” he said.
“If we lose that fanbase, our business is done, but if we can grow that fanbase, our business will grow.”