Thursday, 14 February 2013

SeaWorld Orlando to add Madagascar

The interesting theme park news from the last few days is that the company that owns SeaWorld Orlando and Busch Gardens Tampa have purchased the rights to use DreamWorks' Madagascar in their parks in the Orlando area. This is interesting on a number of fronts.

Firstly, Universal have traditionally worked with DreamWorks in a number of parts of the world. This includes Shrek in all of the Universal parks, and even a quite popular Madagascar ride in Universal Studios Singapore. Now we have their cross town rivals buying IP rights from underneath them.

Secondly it shows that not only are DreamWorks happy to play the field to get best value for their content. Not only that, but they are not simply bundling all their IP into one basket. This is an intriguing move. This gives them immediate value for their property but it means they will only continue to get returns while each piece of IP remains current.

Interesting from an Australian perspective as we have just seen an ugly IP switch between our two major chains. The IP for Nickelodeon was not wanted by Dreamworld who held the rights to it up until 2011. They wanted to switch to DreamWorks. Rival Sea World bought out the rights to Nickelodeon, leaving Dreamworld in the lurch for a number of months. Dreamworld was forced to remove all Nickelodeon branding and retheme Nick Central to a generic "Kid's World" until the rights for their DreamWorks Experience was available. Having said that they finally opened a wonderful area dedicated to Shrek, Madagascar  and Kung Fu Panda. Without question the best themeing Dreamworld has added in many years.

Could we see this kind of situation happening in the US or Singapore? Probably not. However it does make you wonder if parks will continue to invest the same way if the next big movie might be sold to their competitors.

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