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Village Roadshow aims for new attractions to lift theme parks performance
Entertainment group Village Roadshow has revealed that it hopes its theme parks can move on from the impact on the industry of last year’s Dreamworld tragedy, helped by a new rollercoaster, polar bear cub, seal show and Star Wars film.
Revealing a $66.7 million loss in the 2016/17 financial year, Village Roadshow executives blamed the decline on reaction to the deaths last October of four guests at Gold Coast theme park Dreamworld - operated by rival Ardent Leisure - causing a fall in visitor numbers and earnings at other theme parks.
Villlage Roadshow owns Warner Bros. Movie World, Wet'n'Wild Gold Coast, Sea World, Paradise Country and Australian Outback Spectacular on the Gold Coast along with the Wet'n'Wild Sydney waterpark.
Announcing the Group’s results, co-Chief Executive Graham Burke said the Dreamworld tragedy had made parents wary of putting children on rides at theme parks and attractions across Australia.
However, Burke explained “the good news ... is that it doesn't reflect any underlying issue with our primary business, and there is no doubt with the energy and planning in place that we will turn it around.”
In an effort to get people back to its theme parks, Village Roadshow will launch the DC Rivals HyperCoaster - the longest, highest and fastest rollercoaster in the southern hemisphere - at Movie World in September.
There will also be a new polar bear cub on display at Sea World by the end of August and a new seal show will open at Sea World in December.
Village Roadshow said the theme park market may take time to recover from the Dreamworld accident but the group expects its theme park division will improve earnings in fiscal 2018.
The Group's earnings were also hit by weaker results from its film distribution business due to the underperformance of films such as Red Dog: True Blue, Power Rangers, Deepwater Horizon and Patriots Day.
Film sales were also impacted by piracy, but the company said a Federal Court ruling last week will help reduce it.
The court ordered major internet service providers, including Telstra, to take ‘reasonable steps’ to disable access to 42 websites that breach copyright laws by making pirated content available.
Burke said Village had an holistic program to reduce piracy, including blocking piracy sites, a public relations campaign, pushing Google to take more preventative measures, and technical solutions.
He added “and finally we intend to sue infringers, people that continue to pirate.”
Village Roadshow said its cinema exhibition division had an excellent year, though earnings fell slightly from record levels in the prior year which had the benefit of the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
While price discounting is impacting cinema revenue Burke said that he expects the next Star Wars movie, to be released in December, along with other new title to bring moviegoers back, concluding “there's about 10 identifiable significant hits (hit films) between now and June 30.”
Shares in Village Roadshow closed seven cents, or 1.8%, lower at $3.79.
Image: Warner Bros. Movie World's new DC Rivals HyperCoaster is currently undegoing extensive tests prior to opening (top) and while Village's cinema division has been hit by a series of underperforming releases (below).
23rd August 2017 - QUEENSLAND TO IMPLEMENT NEW SAFETY LAWS FOLLOWING DREAMWORLD TRAGEDY REPORT
11th July 2017 - CINEMA CHAINS DISCOUNT TICKET PRICES IN STAGNANT MARKET
17th May 2017 - DAX EDDY TAKES ON AALARA PRESIDENCY
28th April 2017 - VILLAGE ROADSHOW RESULTS HIT BY DOWNTURN IN THEME PARK VISITS
14th March 2017 - VILLAGE ROADSHOW THEME PARKS HIGHLIGHTS SAFETY AND MAINTENANCE SYSTEMS
13th March 2017 - PARKZ WEBSITE LAUNCHES SUPPORT OUR THEME PARKS CAMPAIGN
22nd February 2017 - VILLAGE ROADSHOW THEME PARKS EXPERIENCE SUMMER TRADING DECLINE
6th February 2017 - WET’N'WILD GOLD COAST LAUNCHES ALL TERRAIN DRIVING ADVENTURE
17th December 2016 - SAFETY INSPECTIONS COMPLETE AT VILLAGE ROADSHOW THEME PARKS
20th November 2016 - GOLD COAST THEME PARKS HIT BY SAFETY FEARS
19th November 2016 - MOVIE WORLD AND SEA WORLD WIN IAAPA ‘BRASS RING’ MERCHANDISE AWARDS
18th October 2016 - WET’N'WILD SYDNEY TO INSTALL ACCESSO’S QUEUING SOLUTION TECHNOLOGY
15th September 2016 - THEME PARKS AND CINEMAS PERFORM BUT VILLAGE ROADSHOW PROFITS DIP
3rd June 2016 - WARNER BROS. MOVIE WORLD CELEBRATES 25 YEARS OF MOVIE MAGIC
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