Live Company Group PLC (LON:LVCG) Executive Chairman David Ciclitira caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss their BRICKLIVE Touring zoos and safari parks expansion.
Q1: In your ‘looking forward strategy’ outlined in the recent RNS about the Bright Bricks acquisition, you spoke about a US and European expansion. In this morning’s RNS, you’re announcing launching events in zoos, is this a first step of this expansion?
A1: Yes and no. The reality is that Live Company’s BRICKLIVE has been involved in the Animal Paradise project which is endangered species animals in its own touring division. We’ve now acquired, as of yesterday, Bright Bricks and I’m absolutely really surprised, positively, to find there’s so much activity inside Bright Bricks in relation to their touring programme, in particular their animal programme which was called Safari. Last year, they did a deal with a zoo in the UK, Marwell Zoo, and the response from the public was so positive that Marwell has recently signed a longer term deal, I think their attendance went up 22/23% as a result of having Bright Bricks Animal Safari there.
So, really what we’ve got now is really fantastic business because we’ve brought the two companies together so under the BRICKLIVE Touring brand, we are now entering into the world of zoos. There are either agreements in principal or offers for nearly a dozen zoos and they are not just in the UK, they’re in Europe and the United States. We’ve already had some conversations with some of these zoos and they’re extremely happy to take the brand BRICKLIVE Animal Paradise so that’s a fantastic expansion for BRICKLIVE Touring and obviously the brand of BRICKLIVE. These are highly profitable projects because once you’ve been involved in the zoo for say two zoos with one property, the third property is pure profit.
So, it’s a really fantastic opportunity for us and it’s a fantastic opportunity for Bright Bricks who are an amazing company and I’m really delighted we’re all working together.
Q2: Why are zoos and safari parks an ideal market for these models and tours?
A2: Well, first of all, they’ve got their own traffic, so people are buying and coming into zoos. What is a zoo? It’s a theme park really for animals so here we are bringing in brick-built animals into an environment that is already there with traffic, people coming and we’re obviously delighted that our involvement increases that traffic.
We’ve been described actually last week by the Daily Telegraph as a global entertainment and educational brand, that’s BRICKLIVE. So, what are zoos? Obviously, they’re entertaining to children but they’re there to educate so Animal Paradise which is about educating children about endangered species, it’s fits really well. The dozen zoos that are on the slate now, I see no reason why that’s not going to be 25 next year and thereafter, 50 zoos. There are a lot of zoos in the world and I think that the potential for us now involving BRICKLIVE and Bright Bricks together is enormous.
Q3: So, what is the model of these activations and how do they differ from existing BRICKLIVE events?
A3: As you probably know, what we’re talking about BRICKLIVE Touring, both of these projects both in zoos and where we’re in for example The Bird’s Nest in Beijing with Animal Paradise last month, the reality is they are not the normal BRICKLIVE. BRICLKLIVE normal exhibitions have obviously an element of statues, models, whatever you want to call them, they’re basic interactive LEGO activity.
Animal Paradise and also Safari, they do have interactive elements but they’re primarily full-size animals made of bricks and obviously there’s a lot of educational elements alongside that but they’re different. Because they’re in an environment, people go to a zoo knowing they’re going to see animals, that’s why they’re going to the zoo, obviously it’s something that fits like a glove really.
Q4: You’ve mentioned already that you’re having contact with 12 zoos with the first announced being Twycross Zoo, do you see this taking off across US, Europe and perhaps even worldwide?
A4: It’s a global phenomenon. Bright Bricks is primarily a UK-based company and the zoos that it’s involved in and have been involved in to date are British, they already have offers, contracts ready to be signed in Europe and specifically they’re waiting our signature for a contract in the United States. I think the contract in the United States is going to be quickly followed by another two.
Why have zoos being so popular? What I think there is, there’s obviously a very strong zoo community so obviously zoos talk to each other about health of animals and all kinds of things. I think Marwell Zoo, where it all started, was such a success that I think the drums have been playing and people are genuinely interested in how do we get these animals into our zoos.
Live Company Group PLC (LON:LVCG) operates as a live events and entertainment company. The Company offers sports marketing, media, and management services. Brick Live is a network of partner-driven fan-based shows using BRICKLIVE-created content worldwide. Brick Live Group is not associated with the LEGO® Group and is an independent producer of BRICKLIVE.