Thursday, November 4, 2010

Heard On... Six Flags 3rd Q Conference Call & Investor Meeting

Six Flags Entertainment had their 3rd Quarter earnings conference call, and with the new management team quite settled it a lot of plans have been made - changes, too.

Here are some items I found interesting:

•  The company's new business strategy has five key aspects. 1 - Enhance guest experience to keep former gets and attract new ones.  2 - Develop park focus by adding new attractions each year (yes, each year!) and marking that is specific to theme parks. 3 - Improve operational efficiencies. 4 - Show consistent financial improvement. 5 - Build theme park culture among employees that help make them the best.

•  The company going forward will be structured as a regional theme park company, not a global entertainment company - a key change in focus from previous management.

•  Revenue was up 5% in the third quarter, 6% so far in 2010.  Operating expenses are down $22 million so far this year from 2009.

•  The population within a 100 mile radius of all Six Flags parks is 175 million, versus 115 million of their closest competitor - which I would assume is Cedar Fair.

•  The company will introduce more rides and attractions in 2011 at all the parks than it has in the last decade.  A focus will be to always have something new to draw guests back and gain new ones.  (hasn't that been lesson 1 in the theme park industry for 40 years now?)

• The massive ticket discounting will stop in 2011.  They will also have a new advertising scheme, Mr. Six won't die completely, but will take a back seat to the rides and attractions.

The company also had a special Investor Meeting in NYC today.  They put out a series of the slides they used, which are just jam packed with goodies. (Though the cover of the presentation features a photo of Cyclone at Dreamworld in Australia... odd.)

Here is the Green Lantern's logo for Six Flags Great Adventure, something I haven't seen yet.  The slide mentions that the coaster should open Memorial Day weekend 2011.  The company hopes the new skyline that the ride will provide will bring much excitement to the park.

We also get a great peek at the expansion going on to Six Flags Great America's Hurricane Harbor water park.

The new Riptide Bay area looks pretty sweet.  There's a Proslide double Superloop and also a Tantrum slide, both of which are very new products in the industry.  There's also a general lagoon area that adds to capacity, and the double surfing simulator.

Six Flags New England's still unnamed Wild Mouse that was moved from Kentucky Kingdom is shown as well.  The slide mentions cars themed as "police, cabs, and Villains," but not much other detail.  The shot of the ride above shows it with new colors, and below is art of the station.

Six Flags America, Great Escape, and La Ronde are shown but nothing is mentioned as new for 2011.  Six Flags Over Georgia's Dare Devil Dive is shown, but nothing we haven't seen before.  The presentation does confirm that the ride's cars will briefly stop at the top before the drop.

While there is not much new to say about the New Texas Giant at Six Flags Over Texas, there is some new art featured.  The presentation mentions that the ride will have the steepest drop and the most turns over 90 degrees on any wooden coaster - and we won't get into the wood vs. steel debate here.

Six Flags St. Louis and Discovery Kingdom's SkyScreamer were mentioned, as well as Six Flags Fiesta Texas' new Lone Star Spectacular.  Six Flags Mexico will feature a new Terminator X laser battle attraction, along with expanded entertainment offerings in 2011.

Six Flags Magic Mountain has already announced their new attraction - the presentation offers some new art and a logo for the Green Lantern - First Flight coaster.  They also called the junior coaster that was delayed from 2010 Little Flash, so I guess that's the new name.

A ton of other great information is contained in those slides, but they also point out that the company has 1,000 acres of land that could be developed.  That's 700 in New Jersey, 300 in Maryland, and 240 in St. Louis.

Marketing will focus on a "Go Big" campaign for 2011.  Recent advertising focused heavy on families - things will switch again and go after the teens using thrills.  Local park advertising will focus on rides actually at the local park - not on a National scale.

Phew, that was a lot of information! Sounds like an exciting 2011 for Six Flags.


Chris said...

Going after the teens with thrills -- again? Why didn't that work the first time? Oh right, teens don't have money to spend. I can't believe they are abandoining the family demo-- do they not remember what the parks looked like in the late 90s when they catered to teens with new coasters each year? The parks were day care facilities. Ugh, this just seems like they are going 5 steps backwards from where things were with Snyder. This doesn't seem completely out of left field- I think the writing was on the wall when they announced SFMM was adding 3 coasters.