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Theme parks come to India

Theme parks would change the face of family entertainment in India, Turner GM Ian Diamond tells Prerna K Mishra.

india Updated: Feb 22, 2006 13:45 IST

Turner International India Pvt Ltd has tied up with International Recreation Parks and Unitech Amusement Parks to bring to India theme parks designed around their two kids channels. The two parks to be rolled out in Noida and Rohini with an investment of Rs 550 crore would change the face of family entertainment in India, Turner Entertainment Networks Asia V-P and GM Ian Diamond told Prerna K Mishra.

How do the theme parks fit into your larger plans for India?

We intend to blur the lines between television and the real world. It gives us the opportunity to make families experience the power of Pogo and Cartoon Network outside of television. And it makes sense for us to establish a space for entertainment with our retail strength in the middle so that people who watch the channels can take back bits and pieces of it to write with, to wear or to cuddle back home. It gives our characters, our retail and merchandising and our promotional activity another window to connect with the target audience.

How many theme parks have you announced?

There will be two — one 3.5 acre Planet Pogo park within the Adventure Island coming up in Rohini and another 6.5 acre Cartoon Network Townsville as part of Worlds of Wonder coming up in Sector 38A Noida. While Planet Pogo will open to the public by fourth quarter of 2006, Cartoon Network Townsville will open in mid 2007.

What will be the USP of the theme parks?

We will be working with Canada-based Forrec for architecture, California-based Management Resources as operational consultants, Hong Kongbased MVA as traffic consult ants, Germany-based TUV for measurement and monitoring and Scotland-based Euro Pools for water management.

What gives you the confidence that the Indian audience is ready for theme parks?

The Indian operations contribute 10 per cent to our overall revenues. The sales revenues for last year have grown by 21 per cent YOY. The distribution has grown to about 26 million for Cartoon Network and 17 million for Pogo. The time is just ripe for us to extend our relationship in India beyond promotional licensing and consumer products to theme parks. We have done it in other mature markets like Italy, France, Australia, Chicago and Atlanta.

Are you adding any offering to your bouquet in India in the near future?

We are trying to focus on the developmental and educational space. You will soon hear some news on the Sesame Street in the next few weeks.