Sulake To Expand Internet Phenomenon Habbo Hotel Into Animation Through Innovative Creative Challenge
Animation Studios From Across The Globe To Develop Three Minute "Habbosodes" For Unique DVD Compilation To Be Released Internationally; Habbo Hotel's Huge Teen Audience To Help Select Winners Via On-Line Poll
Helsinki, Finland, April 8th, 2005 - HABBO HOTEL, one of the world's largest and hottest on-line destinations for teenagers, will be opening its doors to a new dimension - animated story-based programming. In response to overwhelming consumer demand from the site's unparalleled teen audience for new ways to experience the innovative world of Habbo Hotel , Sulake, the creators of the burgeoning community, have launched an engaging animation challenge. Through the challenge, animation studios from across the globe will compete to help bring the incredibly popular web world beyond the Internet.
"Our mission is to build Habbo into a new kind of lifestyle brand which is rooted in the vast online community of our users. Animation is a natural step for us in our quest to expand the Habbo brand to new areas of entertainment. It is important that we stay true to the spirit of the Habbo community and make sure that our users' opinions are taken into account," said Timo Soininen, CEO of Sulake.
A richly colorful, multi-dimensional virtual community, Habbo Hotel has taken the world by storm since its launch in 2000. To date, Habbo Hotel sites have been introduced in 16 countries, with more than 26 million Habbo characters created and 3.6 million unique users each month. The U.S. destination was opened in September 2004 and has become an instant success, already boasting over one million unique users per month who spend on average more than three hours a week on the site (Nielsen Net Ratings).
Targeted to teens 13-20 and a boasting a user community evenly divided between male and female, Habbo Hotel combines the concept of simulation gaming with the camaraderie of a community -- enabling teens and young adults to express themselves creatively. Teens join by creating a fully-customized online character persona, called a Habbo. From there, users explore the vast hotel where they can chat and make friends with other Habbos , play a wide range of games, party and dance by the pool, create and decorate their own fantasy hotel room - the interactivity and options are virtually limitless.
Habbo Hotel's migration to animation starts with "Habbosodes". Through the challenge, selected studios from around the world have been invited to participate in the creation of fifteen three minute webisodes. These commissioned Habbosodes will be compiled into a DVD and distributed internationally through both on-line and retail fulfillment. Members of the Habbo on-line community will help determine the most popular vignettes by an on-line poll. This collaborative initiative will act as a creative springboard or catalyst for the animated television series and other media applications.
To oversee Sulake's expansion into the animation and TV arena, Sulake has appointed renowned Canadian television executive Dale Taylor as its Senior Vice President, Television and Animation. Recognized as the driving creative force behind YTV Canada's rating success in its formative years, Mr. Taylor will spearhead all aspects of the challenge and subsequent DVD and television distribution of the winning content. Mr. Taylor is still accepting applications from animation studios to participate.
Additionally, Sulake has recently appointed the New York based integrated marketing agency Big Tent Entertainment as its North American licensing agent. Big Tent Entertainment will look to capitalize on the on-line excitement to help build Habbo into a global multi-faceted teen lifestyle brand.
Rich Collins, CEO of Big Tent Entertainment., commented "Habbo Hotel has already solidified itself as one of the top teen destinations in the world. We are excited about the animation challenge and resulting `Habbosodes' as they are designed to deliver exactly what teens expect from the brand. The resulting episodes created from the animation challenge will launch on DVD later this year and are sure to have broad appeal and become instant collector's items."
Sulake is an interactive entertainment company that specializes in developing, publishing and distributing multiplayer online communities and games, like Habbo Hotel. Sulake was established in 2000 and it now has localized Habbo Hotel communities and operations in 16 countries on four continents: North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. To date, more than 26 million Habbo characters have been created, with over 3.6 million unique users visiting Habbo sites each month. Currently Sulake has more than 170 employees worldwide.
The main shareholders of Sulake are: Benchmark Capital; Taivas Group; 3i Group plc; Elisa Group; the founders of Sulake, Sampo Karjalainen and Aapo Kyrölä; and Sulake's CEO Timo Soininen.
About Big Tent Entertainment:
Big Tent Entertainment is a marketing agency specializing in the integrated management of entertainment brands. Formed in 2002, the company focuses exclusively on providing brand management for entertainment and lifestyle content. Big Tent currently serves as the North and South American marketing agent for such popular children's properties as The Koala Brothers , the hit pre-school series now airing twice a day on Disney Channel as part of its Playhouse Disney block; North American agent for Miffy & Friends , one of the world's largest brands for toddlers and infants; and worldwide agent for Dragon , based on Dav Pilkey's charming children's books. The company also serves as the worldwide management company for renowned art licensing agency, Alaska Momma.
For more information:
Mr. Timo Soininen, CEO, Sulake Corporation
Tel: +358 50 564 8269
Mr. Dale Taylor, Senior Vice President, TV and Animation, Sulake Corporation,
Tel: (416) 861-0256 x227
Mob: (647) 299-2000