Angry Birds Developer Rovio Earned $106 Million in 2011

Business is good for your favorite purveyors of furious fowl, so much so that they are looking to invest in a larger slingshot. Rovio reported this morning that their total revenue topped 75 million euros in 2011, with the majority coming from their popular game franchise and plush toys related to the games.

A full 30% of revenue came from Rovio’s Consumer Products unit, and that includes both merchandising done by Rovio as well as licensing income from Rovio’s partners. Much of the rest of the 75 million euros came from the sales of the 3 Angry Birds games that Rovio had on the market in 2011, with downloads reaching 648 million by the end of the year.

“The strong growth in revenue clearly demonstrates the popularity of the Angry Birds brand.” Mikael Hed, Rovio CEO said. “The heavy investments made in 2011 to all business areas will be seen in future products. To ensure continuous success we need to be creative and stay focused on entertaining our millions of fans by continuously developing new and innovative products and services.”

This Finland based developer surprised many with today’s press release. They are a privately held company with 224 employees, so there’s little reason for them to publicly share their business details. There’s certainly no legal requirement to do so. TechCrunch has speculated that Rovio might be getting ready to file for an IPO so they can take the company public. That makes a fair amount of sense, given that last year’s revenue would need to be disclosed.

In any case, one other important detail (which I think some might miss) is the income from merchandizing. It’s an impressive 30% of revenue, but more importantly it is income that is relatively immune to piracy. Piracy is a common problem for app developers, with some claiming that it i cutting into their ability to release new titles. Rovio’s 2011 income shows that developers can find other sources of income that complement the games they sell.