Premiere Exhibitions, which owns RMS Titanic Inc, recently announced its earnings for the first fiscal quarter of 2015 saw revenue decrease by 16.2% compared with first quarter last year. According to the press release:
Total revenue decreased 16.2% to $7.5 million compared to $8.9 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2014. Exhibition revenue was negatively impacted by a decrease in admissions revenue as a result of fewer touring exhibitions achieving profit share participation despite comparable average attendance per day. This was only partially offset by higher non-refundable license fees. Merchandise revenue was negatively impacted by a decrease in total attendance for semi-permanent and partnered exhibitions along with a decline in average retail sales per attendee.
Average attendance per exhibition day fell by 9.4% to 462 compared to same quarter last year with 510. They had more exhibition days during the quarter compared to last year. Some costs went down due to lower compensation costs.
So what does it all mean? Well Michael Little the interim president writes:
Our top-line performance reflects weaker demand for Titanic and Bodies in established venues such as Las Vegas and Orlando, lower average ticket prices across all semi-permanent locations, along with fewer of our domestic touring partnered exhibitions achieving profit share participation. These factors led to admission and merchandise sales declines that were only partially offset by higher license fees for rented exhibitions touring internationally. The year over year decrease in total revenues, coupled with rising exhibition costs, yielded a reduction in adjusted EBITDA and a net loss for the Company during the three-month period.
So things are not rosy over at Premiere. Fewer people are going to their exhibitions which translates into fewer merchandise sales. As for the Titanic artifacts collection, the official line is “Premier continues to explore strategic alternatives in conjunction with J.P. Morgan, however, there is nothing definitive to announce at the present time. In addition, the Company expects its independent appraisers to complete new appraisals of the entire Titanic collection, including all the artifacts and intellectual property obtained and developed subsequent to the last appraisal in 2009, over the next month.”
The nugget here is a new appraisal is being undertaken but not just of the Titanic artifacts but the intellectual property developed as part of this collection. That tells me they are trying to sweeten the pot. They will not only get the entire Titanic collection but all the other proprietary materials as well. It also makes sense if you are asking big money people to pony up millions of dollars.
Source: Premier Exhibitions Reports First Quarter Fiscal 2015 Results(15 Jul 2014,Marketwatch-Press Release)