It’s becoming clearer why Finland-based entertainment company Rovio was forced to fire 110 of its employees at the end of 2014: last year, the Angry Birds maker’s revenue dropped 9%, and its operating profit a whopping 74% as a result of falling interest in its consumer by-products.
Revealing its preliminary financial results for the full 2014 calendar year early on Thursday morning, the company said revenues from its games, ads and media businesses actually grew by 6% and 19% to €110.7 million and €6.2 million respectively.
Sales and profits were impacted primarily by a painful year-on-year decline of its consumer product licensing revenues. All in all, operating profit in 2014 dropped to only €10 million, compared to €36.5 million the previous year.
Despite waning demand for merchandising of what it calls “the globally loved Angry Birds brand”, new Rovio CEO Pekka Rantala says he is “confident that with new simplified organisation and clearer vision, we will be back to the path of growth in 2015”.
The executive acknowledged that 2014 was “not a satisfactory year” on the consumer product side, but remains confident that its (expensive) feature film – scheduled to be released in 2016 – will renew interested in licensing of its Angry Birds brand.
The company will also release an Angry Birds game (called ‘Fight’) for the Japanese market only, and stressed its partner relationships with the likes of Kunlun and Alibaba in Asia as potential drivers of growth this year.