UK theme parks from another point of view!

 
AstroDan

Re: The conundrum that is Merlin Studios

Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:24 am

Indeed. Often, things aren't done due to costs of anything from Merlin Studios. A basic height board from them is a fortune.

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BigAl
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Re: The conundrum that is Merlin Studios

Wed Mar 28, 2012 7:40 am

Why though? Surely they'd want to do work for as little as possible to maximise the amount of work that they get from Merlin and to have their work in all of their attractions. Surely that would be a better feeling rather than just stuffing your pockets? Or do they work in a different way to other theming/design companies? :?
 
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Johno
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Re: The conundrum that is Merlin Studios

Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:29 am

Does seem just a little silly...
 
Adam
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The conundrum that is Merlin Studios

Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:19 pm

The best way to explain it, is that they work as a separate company within Merlin. They work within their own budgets and work for profits.

Why it's like this I don't know. But it's why so many of the little things around the resort go without attention.    Even something as small as a new themed paint job or sign has to be approved for budget. Why do you think Cariba Creek signs still remain..?

If Merlin worked more like Disney with a team of Imagineers and scrap the Studios as it is, it would greatly improve EVERY aspect of the resort and all parks/resorts. Not gonna happen though :(


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Sam
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Re: The conundrum that is Merlin Studios

Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:14 pm

Can anyone who does business explain why this isn't an absurd way to run a company?

Because to us laymen, it seems utterly bizarre.


Unfortunately I heard they're scrapping most of the theming on Wodan as Roland Studios were charging too much. :(
 
DiogoJ42

Re: The conundrum that is Merlin Studios

Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:27 pm

It only makes sense from an accounting viewpoint. The BBC did the same thing years ago, and sold off all their equipment, studios, staff etc to newly created internal companies. They then charge each other for services and the money just keeps moving round in circles within the overall corperation. That way the books look like you are making a profit, and keeps shareholders / fat cat bosses happy... even though in reality you are loosing more money than you did before when you were one big happy family. It's the same logic as making your staff redundant then re-hiring them as freelancers at a higher rate. :no:

It's no surprise that Chessington no longer use Studios, and get external companies to do all their theming work.
Last edited by DiogoJ42 on Wed Mar 28, 2012 2:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: The conundrum that is Merlin Studios

Wed Mar 28, 2012 8:22 pm

It just seems a bit silly. All the Merlin attractions need the studios!

Why don't they just charge at cost price + labour. No need for them to make a profit.
 
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Re: The conundrum that is Merlin Studios

Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:04 pm

BigAl wrote:
Why though? Surely they'd want to do work for as little as possible to maximise the amount of work that they get from Merlin and to have their work in all of their attractions. Surely that would be a better feeling rather than just stuffing your pockets? Or do they work in a different way to other theming/design companies? :?


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BigAl
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Re: The conundrum that is Merlin Studios

Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:24 pm

Benzin wrote:
BigAl wrote:
Why though? Surely they'd want to do work for as little as possible to maximise the amount of work that they get from Merlin and to have their work in all of their attractions. Surely that would be a better feeling rather than just stuffing your pockets? Or do they work in a different way to other theming/design companies? :?


HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

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I didn't realise that companies needed money. Sorry. :roll:


You do realise that there's a distinct difference between only seeking as much money as possible and earning money whilst building up a reputation and creating attractions to be truly proud of? Remember Tussauds, no?
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Re: The conundrum that is Merlin Studios

Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:42 pm

It's always about making money. And why the hell would it not be?

The difference is the approach you take to make it.

Merlin have the wrong approach. Tussauds had a better one.

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Re: The conundrum that is Merlin Studios

Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:49 pm

A company quite obviously has to make money to survive and grow, but that shouldn't mean that it affects how you do things to the extent where you're putting people off because you don't want to do things at a reasonable price. What's the point in them if the attractions turn to other places to get things done? They could earn more if they lowered their prices as more of the attractions would be able to afford things. If Merlin Studios wasn't a separate company then the whole discussion regarding money would be out of the equation. As others have said, look at how Disney does things.
Last edited by BigAl on Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
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Re: The conundrum that is Merlin Studios

Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:01 am

Sometimes it makes sense for each department in a company to run its own profit & loss account but when other parts of the company avoid it due to high costs then they really do need to change how it is set up.

Here are some costs Merlin Studios charged for Spinball
Q-Line Games - £50,000
Q-Line Audio - £20,000
Q-Line Entrance Feature - £5,500
Thumper Bumpers - £35,000
Q-Line Fence Painting - £8,000
 
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The conundrum that is Merlin Studios

Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:44 am

Bloody Hell, £8k to paint some fence!?! That's properly shocking...
 
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Re: The conundrum that is Merlin Studios

Thu Mar 29, 2012 8:54 am

So you say merlin studios is a separate entity to merlin entertainments. So potentially could they be contacted from clients who want for example, a central theming piece to an awards ceremony? Or is it strictly a merlin exclusivity deal?

Its all very strange...
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Re: The conundrum that is Merlin Studios

Thu Mar 29, 2012 9:52 am

I would imagine that Merlin Studios runs as a separate company and charges the price it does to the parks purely for tax reasons.

The park's pay a certain percentage of tax on all profit and that tax band is higher if the profit margins are higher. If some of this money goes into Merlin Studios instead, then that tax isn't being paid, but the money is still going in to Merlin. I'd imagine there's an element of being able to claim back VAT on Studio products, too, but can't be 100% on that.

So imagine that you have 1 business earning £1 billion and paying 40% tax on it's profit, your second business is earning £200 million and paying 25% tax on profit. The threshold for the 40% tax is £700 million. So business 1 pays business 2 £300 million for something. Both businesses then pay 25% tax. Business 1 suffers and business 2 benefits in terms of figures, but seeing as they're both owned by the same parent company, the overall business benefits, especially in terms of stock market value.

So, yes, it is all about money, but I wouldn't look it at from a purely negative perspective. It's something all companies do, and as long as the actual cost of the studios involvement is in the initial budget for a park development, then I don't really see what the problem is.
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Re: The conundrum that is Merlin Studios

Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:06 am

That's all well and good ponder, but what a few people are saying is, the parks are using the studios less as they charge rediculous amounts of money for small things, such as a height board, or 8k for fence painting?
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Re: The conundrum that is Merlin Studios

Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:36 am

^ Yes, that it the problem. What they should be doing is telling the parks that they have no choice but to use Merlin Studios, then what ponder wrote works (which I what I would agree they use this system for).

A couple of other thoughts - Don't Disney use this system as well with WDI being a seperate company and charging a lot of money? Maybe this is why both Merlin and Disney seem to spend a massive amount of money creating a new attraction, far more than any independant theme park and the result, more often than not, doesn't look like that amount has been spent.
 
djtruefitt

Re: The conundrum that is Merlin Studios

Thu Mar 29, 2012 10:39 pm

It does all seem very strange, Merlin own a perfectly good company that do painting, signs, etc. Yet they charge too much so Alton go elsewhere to get what they want, rather than internally.

It should be the case that it costs Alton very little to get what they want from studios. And of course if studios want to do business outside of Merlin they will then charge a higher rate for that. But a lower rate for internal work.

Im guessing there must be some reasoning as to why they charge so much, something linked to tax, or profits or something, I just find it very strange.

And 8,000 to paint a fence? I think I might set up my own fence painting company if thats the kind of money I can make!
 
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Re: The conundrum that is Merlin Studios

Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:25 am

RustyRider wrote:
So you say merlin studios is a separate entity to merlin entertainments. So potentially could they be contacted from clients who want for example, a central theming piece to an awards ceremony? Or is it strictly a merlin exclusivity deal?

Its all very strange...

Pretty sure I read an article about studios being open to any development - the rename to "Merlin Magic Making" was to coincide with being able to sell their design products to other companies if they wish for it.

Can't imagine many going for it unless it's the right price though.
 
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Re: The conundrum that is Merlin Studios

Sat Mar 31, 2012 11:33 am

djtruefitt wrote:
And 8,000 to paint a fence? I think I might set up my own fence painting company if thats the kind of money I can make!


I think people are missing the point with this whole '£8k to paint a fence' thing. I'd have thought it's not so much that the fence cost £8k to paint, more that £8k needed to be accounted for.
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