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Richard last won the day on May 8

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  1. What? ABC reached out for comment from a credible/respected academic in this field and he gave his expert opinion. Nothing he said is even remotely controversial. The whole 7:30 piece to me seemed fairly safe and bland. Lacking in depth, sure, but I'm not getting overtones of agenda or bias.
  2. I'd argue that Sea World caters for ~4-8 very well between Nickelodeon Land, Castaway Bay/Reef and the animal exhibits/shows. Of course then there's many other shortcomings there. And their IP isn't as, ahem, "hip". I'd also argue that $10 million spent at Movie World shoring up the 4-8 gap would be the best money they could spent. Had Doomsday been a few good family flat rides instead of one lacklustre thrill ride, this almost wouldn't be a discussion we'd be having. This is the inherent flaw in the annual pass model and why it's perhaps been so easy for Dreamworld to coast: they're never in danger of competing with themselves. Sea World focusing on younger kids and Movie World on teens has left both parks lacking. Even though "95 rides and attractions" is a solid selling point for annual passes, it doesn't translate as an experience for anyone other than tourists visiting all within a short period of time. It also highlights the dearth of family rides at all our parks. There's so little on offer anywhere that appeals to everyone.
  3. I'll absolutely concede (and did in the article) that the sheer breadth of rides and hip IP in one place aimed at young children is unmatched. Quality and presentation is another matter, though hardly relevant to a four year old so long as they're on something that spins or hugging a character they recognise. When looked at through the prism of a two-park (DW/WWW) versus three/four-park (MW, SW, WNW + PC) annual pass I do firmly believe the offering for every age bracket doesn't stack up in quantity nor quality and at the end of the day, but of course there's a lot to be said for for the geographical/all-in-one convenience of Dreamworld. The main question is whether there's a sound business model for a theme park of the size of Dreamworld to only be pretty good with young kids' attractions. I think there's a misnomer that these are family attractions; in my view they appeal to young families and little else, and there's a reason you don't see Disney or other operators relying heavily on them... because they're not money spinners in the same way that true "3 to 93" family attractions are.
  4. VRL was never $14.95... something's awry in those Google numbers. They were around $5 at the time of the incident. Ardent is a company that has sold every other asset and sunk everything into the high-growth Main Event. The market wrote off the entire value of Dreamworld when the incident occurred so there has been no need for the market to "punish" them every time they've released dismal trading updates. To put it another way, no one is invested in Ardent Leisure because they see Dreamworld in the company's future. Village on the other hand have their finger in many different under-baked pies and have a lot more opportunities to disappoint investors. They're hurting now because every division is struggling and they don't have the balance sheet to weather it.
  5. If you want to go down this path of selling soundly performing parks then Sea World is far and away the better candidate for sale: it's in a bit of a predicament in terms of direction, faces something of a PR/image problem, it's geographically separated from the other parks and is surrounded by land that has been earmarked for development with no firm plan in place. Wet'n'Wild Gold Coast prints money. It's historically one of the best performing water parks in the world and seasonality aside it operates at a higher margin than any of the other Gold Coast parks. Certainly their stake in WnW Las Vegas will go given it's their lone USA park and their other remaining international operations are now essentially management deals without equity.
  6. Richard

    The Off Topic Topic

    "You can't quote the post above" has never been a rule or convention we've encouraged. Quoting the post above is fine. Just use it selectively and don't quote excessively large blocks of text/images. In this case it's an entire topic devoted to random thoughts and there's hardly a flow of discussion. It makes logical sense in this context.
  7. Good call... I dug through it all and $80 million was the estimate when it was announced, "125-130 million" was the expected cost in the FY2013 annual report. For what it's worth too, the first season had EBITDA of $14.5 million and profit before tax of $9.5 million. They sold $20-odd million worth of annual passes that first season, which was surely the biggest single mistake they made and a large piece of the puzzle for how we ended up with today's (rather predictable) announcement.
  8. There is nothing fundamentally wrong with Wet'n'Wild Sydney. Village Roadshow simply aren't in a position to be able to invest the time, capital and corporate/cultural changes it requires. Across the board Village are in a dire situation and need to be shedding debt and loss-making ventures. For $40-odd million this is a fairly safe bet for any company with experience in the theme park industry. Parques Reunidos have expanded globally quite aggressively despite falling under the radar compared to say Merlin. It's really not as left-field as you'd think. And you'd have to imagine that they're one of a number of companies very closely watching Dreamworld and have been in discussion with Ardent at various times.
  9. Richard

    Sea World Updates 2018

    Like said, we don't want these sorts of open-ended "mega threads".
  10. What marketing are you referring to that you like? Because there's not much of anything resembling a cohesive marketing strategy at play here. I don't think calling it a flying theatre helps them. It's still a term completely unknown to the wider population, and a "theatre" hardly conjures up imagery of an exciting ride. They're building a ride that no amount of photos, videos or descriptions will do justice to. For all of the great things you can say about this kind of attraction, Dreamworld have their work cut out for them in terms of selling the concept.
  11. Richard

    Acting CEO of Ardent to leave June 15

    They're not looking. Ardent don't need a group CEO because they have no strategic requirements beyond keeping Dreamworld barely ticking along until they find a buyer, freeing them up to sell off the remaining Main Event in either an IPO or a private equity deal at a premium on the share price.
  12. There's a Brooklyn Depot at South Bank too @AlexB. Alright food. Clever gimmick of hiring mostly young USA students/backpackers as wait staff so you get an authentic experience, albeit without the service quality that you only get from America's tipping culture.
  13. @Skeeta, it would presumably have something to do with Brewster Inc. (operators of FlyOver Canada) registering Flyover in Australia a couple of weeks after this article was published. Methinks lawyers spoke to lawyers and kindly asked that Ardent Leisure yank their application rather than both companies going through a costly appeal/arbitration process that Ardent would certainly lose. I wouldn't necessarily rule out a licensing arrangement given Dreamworld's penchant for leaning on other brands.
  14. Yeah the watering down of the new deli menu was a big step back. The sandwiches on offer like the Reuben were authentic and as good as you'd find at any bar or cafe serving this style of American food. The lazy answer is they didn't find much of an audience for this style of food in a theme park setting, but you also never see much of a crowd there ordering the usual fare of pies and premade wraps/sandwiches so you tend to wonder if the venue just doesn't get the foot traffic and promotion it should. I think ideally it should have been built as an extension of the coffee shop where it'd be a much better companion outlet than the pointless combination of a modern deli next to Ben & Jerry's. No objections to the prices VRTP charge for F&B generally speaking -- it should be premium prices -- but I think they are incredibly foolish to not be modernising their staples. They don't exist in a bubble and McDonalds are no longer the benchmark; every major shopping centre foodcourt offers ample high quality, modern and fresh fast food. The burgers on offer, even at seemingly premium outlets like Dockside Tavern run the gamut from average to embarassing. The business model for the parks relies on repeat visits; I suspect bean counters are happy so long as the key outlets are doing good business with little regard for the fact that other would-be major outlets are almost always shut, operate for reduced hours or simply under-perform. Someone probably met a KPI by shaving a few cents off the cost per serve with those cardboard fries. All the while there's countless TripAdvisor reviews urging people to steer clear of the food on offer. And then how many passholders quietly decide "never again" on a daily basis?
  15. Richard

    Dreamworld - 2017 "exciting" "experiences"

    As good a time as any to wrap things up here. This thread has more than run its course. Feel free to carry on discussion at the below links: Gold Rush demolition: Dreamworld Corroboree works: Remember, no mega-topics. Don't be afraid to start a new topic to talk about new things major or minor!