11/12/2013 - 14:59

Scitech takes first steps into US market

11/12/2013 - 14:59


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Scitech has marked a major step in its plan to grow revenue from exhibition rentals by signing its first US client.

NEW DAWN: Scitech’s newly refurbished planetarium is enabling the not for profit, led by chief executive Alan Brien, to broaden its horizons. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Scitech has marked a major step in its plan to grow revenue from exhibition rentals by signing its first US client.

From March 2015, an exhibition built by Scitech’s in-house research and development team will be on show at the Center of Science and Industry in Colombus, Ohio.

The agreement for rental of the ‘Top Secret; Licence to Spy’ exhibition is separate and in addition to Scitech striking an agreement with US-based agent Imagine Exhibitions, which is pursuing other rental agreements on its behalf.

Scitech chief executive Alan Brien told Business News the not-for-profit body was aiming to increase its non-governmental revenue (50 per cent), and breaking into the US exhibitions market was key to achieving that goal.

“The US market is very large, the largest market, which is why we want to move into it,” Mr Brien told Business News.

“Most US cities with population of over one million would have the equivalent of a Scitech, and more people visit science centres in the US than they do museums.

“We see an opportunity in that we produce very good exhibitions and we’ve already exported our exhibitions into Europe, Asia and across Australia and New Zealand, so we know that the products are very strong and will last.”

Revenue from rental of the travelling exhibitions accounted for just less than 7 per cent of Scitech’s $16.2 million revenue in the 2012-13 financial year.

In the same year, 9.6 per cent ($1.8 million) of revenue came from corporate donations, while receipts from admissions accounted for $2 million.

Scitech’s team of 25 research and development employees build all the exhibitions at the science centre, nine of which have been made available to other centres for rent.

Of those nine, six are currently rented out – one in Brunei and the rest across Australia and New Zealand.

Scitech is also looking to further diversify its services by expanding the content at its newly revamped planetarium.

The Horizon planetarium was reopened last week after a three-month refurbishment, which included the installation of new projectors.

Mr Brien said the $1.3 million refurbishment of the planetarium vastly improved the quality of shows and presentations.

“It’s one of the most popular exhibitions at Scitech … with the new upgrade we want to be able to broaden the range of films that we’re presenting,” he said.

“And we can create our own content; we can use the system to fully explain educational concepts.”

A record 300,000 visitors visited Scitech in the 2012-13 financial year, an increase on 285,000 the previous year.

Mr Brien said it was clear the centre had reached its capacity and needed to look for a new location.

Burswood has been suggested as the new site and talks with the state government are well advanced, with relocation costs of about $15 million expected.

Mr Brien said the cost of relocating would need to be funded as a partnership between federal and state governments in conjunction with industry investment and philanthropic donations. 


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