SeaWorld share price sinks as Blackfish documentary hits attendance

Joe Hall
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SeaWorld suffered a 5 per cent drop in attendance
SeaWorld’s share price sunk like a stone yesterday after attendance, sales and revenue all slid in the third quarter.
Shares in the American theme park company tanked around 10 per cent lower, as investors reacted to the decimating effect the critical Blackfish documentary had on sales and revenue.
Although SeaWorld did not explicitly mention Blackfish as the reason for a 5 per cent drop in attendance from the same period last year to 8.4m visitors, the business has suffered since the film was released last year.
The company did highlight “negative media attention in California” as a contributing factor to the drop in attendance.
Blackfish is a documentary heavily critical of SeaWorld’s treatment of captive killer whales, or orcas, which focuses on the death of SeaWorld trainer Dawn Brancheau in 2010. The US theme park company has denied many of the film’s claims in an open letter on its website.
Yet the damaging effect it has had on SeaWorld’s business seems undeniable.
For the three months ended 30 September 2014 SeaWorld’s net income plummeted 28 per cent from $120.7m at the same time last year to $87.2m.
Overall revenue fell by eight per cent, or $42.6m, to $495.8m for the quarter.
SeaWorld’s share price also nose dived by 36 per cent in August after second-quarter results were released.
In fact, revenue and attendance has been down in every quarter of this financial so far.
Sea World says it expects full-year sales to be down by around 6 - 7 per cent.

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