IAAPA 2006: Shapiro tells industry to stop thinking it's "mature"

Posted Friday, November 17, 2006 10:10 AM | Contributed by Jeff

Six Flags Chief Executive Officer Mark Shapiro says that he needs to find more products to fill a niche and make money at the same time. It's just one of the ways Shapiro urged an estimated crowd of 22,000 at the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions' annual show to stop thinking about the industry as "mature" and redefine the ways it entertains.

Read more from The Orlando Sentinel.

Friday, November 17, 2006 10:21 AM
Mark,

When you get Six Flags turned around, you may lecture the industry.

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Friday, November 17, 2006 10:27 AM
I guess he's speaking from his year of experience. He talks a good talk, I'll give him that, and he can probably expect another raise.
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Friday, November 17, 2006 10:33 AM
And what makes Shapiro so qualified to tell the industry this, when he hasn't even been a part of it for a whole year yet?

Get your stuff together first, then lecture the industry on your opinions.

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Friday, November 17, 2006 10:54 AM
In all honesty who better to tell the industry something like this than Shapiro? He's virtually an outsider and sees things from the other side unlike those in the industry. He's making a viable "complaint" and letting the people who design new products in on what is needed from a different perspective. It doesn't matter how long he's been running this or that or what he has or hasn't turned around. A problem seen and identified and explained is one step closer to being fixed.
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Friday, November 17, 2006 10:54 AM
His whopping experience is how he can lecture the industry. ;)
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Friday, November 17, 2006 11:06 AM
^^Nahh,it's just Shapiro's way of saying to manufacturer's "your products are too expensive & we can no longer afford to buy them for our parks because of our humoungous debt load".
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Friday, November 17, 2006 11:23 AM
Im almost confident enough to say that the majority of people around here have more knowledge of the industry than this man.
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Friday, November 17, 2006 11:24 AM
It's not about how long you have been there or what you have or haven't done, it's all about a new way of looking at it. It's called FRESH EYES.
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Friday, November 17, 2006 11:26 AM
If these things are so great, why tell everyone? Just implement them at Six Flags and reap the rewards. Make everyone else play catch up.
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Friday, November 17, 2006 11:26 AM
He's not far off with the coaster DVD thing. Three of my enthusiast friends were at BGA yesterday and all bought $20 DVD's of their Sheikra ride. They were on a week-long trip of Florida, so $20 more was probably nothing.
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Friday, November 17, 2006 11:34 AM
"redefine the ways it entertains"

I know I'll be REAL popular for saying this, but in the future, expect more shows and fewer rides... the demographics are in favor of a "graying" of park guests... ;)

OK, maybe not TOO popular... :)

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Friday, November 17, 2006 11:58 AM
The truth is that if anyone else in the industry said this, you'd probably praise him or her as being right. If Six Flags is not on better ground a year from now, then yes, we can all say he's full of crap, but I think it's too early to do that.
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Friday, November 17, 2006 12:04 PM
What exactly do some of you guys expect someone who has been asked to be the keynote speaker for a major industry conference expect him to do? Step up to the podium and say, "Well, one year later and we're still in the hole. Anyone have any ideas?"?

And I doubt he spoke to 22k people at the $75 a ticket GM meeting.

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Friday, November 17, 2006 12:09 PM
I'd listen to what he says. It's true. Read what he's saying. He is simply saying that amusement parks have grown stagnant in the United States and the industry needs to think of more ways to get the guest to return. One way is the use of technology for on ride videos, e-greeting cards another one. Face it, amusement parks haven't exactly embraced technology as a way to enhance the guest experience.
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Friday, November 17, 2006 12:10 PM
When you are in a hunk of debt, what do you expect the dude to say. Make more money off of your rides would be a good thing. Some park tried this already, so it's not like he's the first person to think of it. He didn't do much for this company, but bring it down more. So, why should we listen to him when he makes it sound like he's the smart guy. Produce, and then we will think you are smart.
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Friday, November 17, 2006 12:14 PM
Just read the article and again, I still really like what Shapiro says. I just wish we'd see him do more of what he says. I think his ideas and approach are very interesting and definitely forward thinking.

Also from the article:

"But Shapiro said the way to find stable financial footing also comes down to basics such as a clean park, friendly employees and fun costumed characters."

Hmmm. This seems to go back my idea that the guy gets it, but he's in a professional situation where his arms are tied much of the time.

Even better is the last bit of the article talking about Seabreeze president Rob Norris:

"He said theme parks need to capitalize on their ability to entertain families and echoed Shapiro's call to intensify how they vie for families' limited leisure time.

"We're competing against that soccer field," said Norris, president of Seabreeze Park in Rochester, N.Y."

The idea that theme parks compete against other forms of leisure entertainment more than each other is one that's been floating around with a certain segment of CB'ers for a while now. It's also a valid point.

Honestly, I think these guys get it and it's nice to see some forward thinking going on, because the years of Burke just slapping up some coasters and expecting people to come sure didn't work.

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Friday, November 17, 2006 12:14 PM

A new era in thrill-ride technology was evident, however, with booths like Biodynamic Research Corp., which advertised that it can help theme parks test why certain rides may be causing injuries.

Wow, just look at the influence the ASO is having on the industry!
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Friday, November 17, 2006 12:51 PM
"The idea that theme parks compete against other forms of leisure entertainment more than each other is one that's been floating around with a certain segment of CB'ers for a while now. It's also a valid point."

Yay, I am a part of a *certain segment*...and this time it's a GOOD thing... ;)

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Friday, November 17, 2006 1:03 PM
Yeah, you and the Professor were the guys that came to my mind. That is a good thing. :)
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