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Turner looks at opportunities in location-based entertainment biz in APAC

MUMBAI: Turner Asia Pacific has appointed Eric Lee to lead its growing location-based entertainment (LBE) business for the region.

Effective immediately, he is tasked with identifying opportunities to develop consumer-facing experiences such as water parks, theme parks, branded retail and entertainment spaces. These environments utilise Cartoon Network’s global kids’ IPs such as ‘The Powerpuff Girls’, ‘Ben 10’, ‘We Bare Bears’ and ‘Adventure Time’, as well as Turner’s other youth-focused brands including Tuzki.

This is a new position for Cartoon Network Enterprises (CNE), Turner’s licensing and merchandising arm, and demonstrates its commitment to developing more LBE initiatives around the region. Lee’s appointment is part of a wider strategy by Turner to become an even more consumer-centric and IP-focused company.

Clément Schwebig, who is Turner Asia Pacific’s SVP of business development and oversees CNE, said: “Eric is a talented and experienced individual who will straight away look to forge strategic relationships with local partners that will enable us to engage existing fans and win over new ones. LBE and the themed attraction business has huge potential for growth in Asia Pacific, and Cartoon Network’s world-famous franchises are well loved by kids and families across the region.”

The appointment comes at a period of growth for both the industry and Turner’s extensive portfolio of IPs. Cartoon Network Amazone, the water park in Thailand which opened in 2014, is going from strength to strength, and earlier this year, Turner opened a Tuzki-themed restaurant in Shanghai, China and the first of a planned series of Cartoon Network retail stores in Seoul, Korea.

Meanwhile, in Dubai Cartoon Network is all set to open its own themed zone at IMG Worlds of Adventure. In a number of other Asian markets, LBE projects in the CNE pipeline include family entertainment centres and retail dining entertainment experiences.

Lee joins Turner from Rovio Entertainment in Europe, where he held the position of director for Global LBE. There, he worked with large-scale licensing deals and led innovative projects such as the first-ever Angry Birds 4D film and Angry Birds VR experience. He has also held roles in Jack Rouse Associates and JBJ Associates, and has worked on projects such as Ferrari World in Abu Dhabi, Crayola Experience in the US, Sochi Theme Park in Russia, and Angry Birds parks in the UK, Russia and Qatar.