Hollywood is paying close attention to mobile these days, and not just for conventional purposes like advertisement. In the new age of mobile technology, it is even possible these days for major cultural icons and characters to come from unexpected places as the industry takes new forms on mobile devices. One company in particular, Outfit7, is making this a reality with such apps as “Talking Friends”, a group of addictive apps involving interaction with cartoon animal characters who respond to speech and touch.
With characters including such fun personalities as Talking Tom (cat) and Talking Ben (dog), Outfit7 already boasts 500 million downloads and more than 120 million active users, according to Chief Business Guru Narry Singh. And this is just the beginning, as it raises the possibility that character creation can come from sources outside of traditional entertainment. “The studio system is waking up to the power of mobile as a form of franchise creation – that the next Shrek or Mickey Mouse could start as an app,” The New York Times quotes Andy Mooney, former chairman of Disney Consumer Products and adviser to Talking Friends.
New avenues are already being explored, and sometimes in surprising places. Talking Friends has already been used as an animated Web series for Disney.com with 10 installments generating “83 million views,” says James Pitaro, co-president of Disney Interactive. Additionally, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has even used Talking Tom to record a YouTube greeting earlier this year.