In part one of RLI’s look at Retail and Brand Experience, International Immersive Technology specialist, Kevin Williams of KWP, presents an overview of the key areas of investment seen driving the deployment of high-profile brands and properties into the leisure entertainment sector – charting the landscape and the opportunities in theme parks, VR attractions and beyond.
The importance of brand licensing in the explosion of investment in the Out-of-Home entertainment sector has not been lost on anyone. Major new entertainment venue investments looking to marry with a strong and recognisable Intellectual Property (IP) are fuelling this development. The market is split into four dedicated aspects that have attracted much of this investment.
Theme Park and Resorts
We have seen incredible development by the larger theme park operators towards embracing IP, merging with new attractions, and even theming complete zones of their parks. This is best illustrated by the market leader Walt Disney, who launched last year the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – a complete area of their park that has been geared towards a re-creation of the movie property.
A virtual arms race to attract the most popular properties has begun, be it Universal partnering with video game company Nintendo – or Six Flags Entertainment, the world’s largest regional theme park company, partnering with Atari, the consumer game publisher, to license their real-world attractions into their ‘RollerCoaster Tycoon’ mobile game.
One of the aspects of the new investment in this sector has seen the owners of these properties looking to enter the market directly, rather than handing over their brand – directly operating divisions of their company towards placement and management of their properties into the Out-of-Home entertainment landscape.
The development of dedicated entertainment facilities that are based around a popular brand – offering a means for the audience to immersive themselves within brand or movie are a new area of investment. Described as LBE facilities, these are mid-scale entertainment experiences flexible enough for deployment in malls as well as a standalone structure.
Recent developments in this approach was seen with Lionsgate Entertainment, who have invested heavily into finding the right mix of partner and developer – in the face of cancelled projects, the company has successfully opened their ‘Lionsgate Entertainment World’ – the movie-themed vertical theme park, which opened at Hengqin Island in Zhuhai, China last year. A venue comprising attractions including virtual reality experiences based on elements from their movie portfolio…