November 10, 2006

Barney Heading to Siam Paragon

By Bangkok Post, Thailand

Nov. 10--Lawson-Marsh Events Co, a professional conference organiser, has expanded to imported international shows such as the loveable purple dinosaur Barney to focus on the untapped market of "edutainment" programmes for children.

Apiphawadee Snidvongs Kruesopon, the company's executive director, said that Lawson-Marsh had the licence to organise a show of Barney, a United Kingdom character that has also proved popular in the US, for the first time in Thailand.

Barney's Musical Castle Live in Bangkok will run at Siam Paragon from Nov 24-26. Ticket prices range from 600 to 1,500 baht.

"We have expanded into international shows because the market is very promising," she said. "Though we are a new player, we are confident in our move because we will focus on edutainment shows for children and families, which are not available in the market."

Barney has created an educational phenomenon by mixing education and entertainment with a twist of imagination.

Lawson-Marsh is widely recognised, both domestically and overseas, as a professional conference provider. It recently organised the 13th Asean Congress of Plastic Surgery and a workshop on prevention of mother-child HIV transmission.

Mrs Apiphawadee said the company was currently in negotiations with four international firms and expected to bring at least three international edutainment shows to Thailand next year.

The company has allocated 19 million baht for this programme, which is expected to generate 23 million baht in revenue. So far, more than 40 percent of seats are booked.

"Though we postponed our programme from May because of the country's political problem, we are satisfied with the market feedback and expect the consumer response will be better in the year coming as the awareness of the purple dinosaur has been widened through TV programmes and DVDs for children available in the market,"she said.

Currently, only a few organisations provide international shows, including BEC Tero, Matching Studio and Media of Medias. RS Plc has also established a new subsidiary called RSi Dream Entertainment to provide the same service.

Chatchai Tiamthong, BEC World's vice-president for finance, said the outlook for events and international shows this year, including concerts, was worse than originally expected because the economic slowdown had eroded consumer purchasing power.

BEC lost 15 million baht on event and concert organisation in the third quarter. For example, British pop singer Robbie Williams cancelled his concert, which was supposed to take place this month.


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