Gigglebug Entertainment: From games to hit TV series
Gigglebug has become one of Finland’s most successful animation series.
The company’s prosperous journey began from contagious laughter. It all started with Gigglebug Entertainment’s first product, a simple tickling app combining compelling storytelling with clever playfulness. The game app designed for children can be downloaded from AppStore.
Laughter begins as soon as the game commences. On their way to a party, Gigglebug and his friends cross paths with grouchy animals and try to cheer those grumps up by finding their most ticklish spots. The company later developed a pilot series of 10 episodes for Yle from that very same tickling game. The pilot production has since grown into one of the most viewed children’s programmes on Yle Areena. Due to its high demand, Gigglebug Entertainment has now created a grand total of 62 episodes of the series.
Nowadays the startup creates all sorts of entertainment for kids. “Our product line encompasses games, TV series, music, books and toys,” says founder and CEO Anttu Harlin while presenting the delicate yet colourful watercolours of their animations that cover their office walls in Töölö.
Cash rebate incentives are prerequisites for the audio-visual industry to grow
“Our next challenge is to internationalise and scale our business,” Anttu Harlin explains. “This requires fresh marketing and sales tactics from us. We have already learned a great deal from the domestic market, but from now on foreign agents will play a greater role. We already sell to 13 different countries.”
Gigglebug Entertainment is one of the selected few who received Tekes’ cash rebate incentive for the audio-visual industry introduced earlier this year. The objective of the incentive is to boost audio-visual culture, to drive business growth, and to foster international co-operation. Anttu Harlin describes the production incentive as demanding, but fair. “Without similar incentives the Finnish audio-visual industry could not compete with productions from other EU countries. We currently witness a national growth spurt in the industry, as our operational environment becomes comparable to those of our international counterparts.”
Desire to grow is rooted deep in the very being of this startup. Even before the production incentive, Gigglebug Entertainment used Tekes financing for consultancies, research, analyses and long-term market-specific revenue forecasts, which they earlier based on benchmarking.
Tekes projects require reporting and tracking of tasks, which could use some flexibility according to the CEO. “Audio-visual production companies are not necessarily ones to schedule their time in hours. We work on projects that can easily take from half a day to even several days.”
Disney classic á la Gigglebug
Growth plans are not mere fantasy for this company.
Gigglebug’s success speaks for itself, as among others Disney has shown interest in the newcomer. Gigglebug Entertainment is to reinvent the well-known Disney classic 101 Dalmatians in a series that is set to air on Disney Channel for the duration of 50 episodes. The episodes start airing next year’s autumn.
Gigglebug is also planning to open their very own animation studio in Finland, which would permit them to produce bigger productions from home.
Gigglebug Entertainment Ltd.
Founders: Anttu Harlin (CEO) and Joonas Utti (Creative Director)
Text: Anna-Kaisa Haaranen
Photo: Emilia Anundi