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Transforming the business: Meet the minds behind RWS Entertainment Group | Planet Attractions
     

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Transforming the business: Meet the minds behind RWS Entertainment Group

Keith James, president of JRA; Robin Breese-Davies, executive vice president of ted; and Danielle Kramer, executive vice president of RWS, speak to Planet Attractions about what looks to be a bumper year ahead for the company






Recent times have seen big changes for companies RWS Entertainment Group, JRA and ted.

It’s been a huge year for all three brands, which now operate under one banner following the acquisition of JRA in November 2021 and ted shortly after in April 2022.

Offering significantly expanded capabilities, the group is now positioned as one of the world’s largest full-service providers of visitor attractions and experiences.

Planet Attractions spoke to Keith James, president of JRA; Robin Breese-Davies, executive vice president of ted; and Danielle Kramer, executive vice president of RWS, about the acquisitions, how that has changed operations, and the most exciting things to come out of the moves ahead of what looks to be a bumper 2023 for RWS.



Keith James: “For me, I grew up in the business. This is all I've ever done. I love it. I still love it. I'm having a good time and I've known founder and CEO Ryan Stana a long, long time. So things are going quite well.

Things are different. Obviously, we went from being a family to being part of a company. That makes things different. But you know, the feeling is good. Plenty of opportunities for my staff and that's really what was a significant part of my desire - to make sure that things continued for them and that they had plenty of opportunities.”

Robin Breese-Davies: “It's beyond my expectations, actually. It's like selling a house. When you sign on that dotted line, you're not really in control of what happens afterwards. So you got to have faith in the deal and you got to make sure everything's covered off in the agreement. And it's worked really well.

Relationships are stronger than I had hoped for. I feel like I've still got the autonomy as if I still own the business but I'm part of a bigger business, a bigger family. On a personal note, I got a lot more support at a leadership level, tapping into the experience and the skillset at RWS. It's been a real, real pleasure for me.”

Danielle Kramer: “You go through a range of emotions because at first you're nervous and you're meeting new people and it's like, what are they going to think? What are we going to think? How are we going to interact? But it's truly been amazing.

My relationship with Robin and Keith is so amazing. We're so collaborative, which I'm so appreciative of. Keith is also a titan in the industry so I'm learning so much from him. Robin is very much a true CEO in his business. He knows it inside and out, and I love learning from him.

I think overall with the acquisition, not only are we rounding out our capabilities, but we're rounding out our staff as a whole. It's exciting to bring people's different personalities into the mix and their talents into the mix. The collaboration has just been great. I think our staff is learning a lot from each other and new ideas, new experiences, new capabilities. It's really exciting.”



Robin Breese-Davies: “Ted's core client base historically would be very much in the travel industry. So tour operators, hotels, resorts, holiday parks in the UK and of course cruise companies. They were our core markets, whereas now we're being introduced to different theme parks, attractions, museums, seasonal attractions.

Ted and its services are being introduced to all these new client bases which brings a new talent for us to work with. It means we're able to attract and retain our staff better than we've ever done before because we've got more variety of a client base. It's meant a lot more travel.

If you were to ask any staff member now compared to how it was before April, before the acquisition, having that variety of work and the variety of client base and variety of geographical location has been a huge positive this year.”

Danielle Kramer: “Well, first of all, JRA - their design capabilities are amazing. I'm personally really excited about the Prince experience. I haven't visited yet, but I want to. Also, the Friends experience in New York - people come to me all the time saying, 'oh, your company produced that?' and I'm excitedly like 'yes'. But then also from the ted side, our merchandising is very exciting to me because we never had that capability before, as well as the fitness and wellness piece of it, which is very exciting. AV and tech on the ted side is also amazing and it's really rounding out RWS's offerings.”

Keith James: “The biggest new area is the cruise line business for JRA. We had only worked on one cruise ship before we joined RWS. Now we're working on several, one of which is launching soon.

On the other sides of the business, we have quite a few common clients. So a number of our clients are becoming familiar with RWS and ted and what they do and a number of their clients are becoming familiar with what JRA does. So I think in the future, things are going to overlap more and more and they're going to compliment one another more and more.

It's not a whole bunch of new worlds. It's just Ryan Stana and his group, and Robin and his group have produced a lot of entertainment in the resort business and the cruise line business. Well, we can design the theatres and the attractions into which the shows go. So it's really complimentary.”



Danielle Kramer: “We also have Binder Casting, which is a subsidiary of ours as well. Between that - bringing that broadway feel into things - merging cruise ships and merging theme parks is truly making entertainment one.

At this point, our performers know that they have a trajectory with us to start maybe at a retail centre or a theme park, go onto a cruise ship and they can move on to an off-Broadway show, a Broadway show or even commercials through Binder Casting.

It's been amazing for our talent to see that they have a trajectory. So then we get better talent and then also it keeps them with us for quite a long time and creates more of an extended family for us in our seasonal employees and performers.”



Danielle Kramer: “Really, truly, everything that we work on from the tiniest project with the smallest budget, to a really high budget, high profile client - they all have something so special in them that is what makes me and it's what makes our business so special that it's never the same thing twice.

I can't pick one because I love them all and truly our clients across the board - ted, JRA, RWS and Binder - our clients are all partners more than they are clients.

I truly enjoy working with the folks that I have the chance to work with every day. And so I can't pick one!”

Keith James: “I'm particularly excited about the cruise ship work that we're doing with MSC Cruises because that's new for our company and those projects. I know one of the ships will launch soon and that'll be very exciting when it comes out.

We're also working with some of the older theme parks that do have histories almost as long as mine. So it's a lot of fun to be involved in some of the places that I remember from the beginning of my time and just finding and learning the other things and learning about where we can overlap more and more and more and see where we can help one another.

Do better and more. It's lots of new projects, lots of opportunities. If the economy has settled down and if the pandemic is really gone, the opportunities are tremendous.”

Robin Breese-Davies: “The key big projects that ted traditionally have not worked with is being introduced, things like Warner Brothers. So we've got a really great project with Parque Warner out of Madrid.

We've also been meeting with really established zoos and museums across the US. We've got some really strong clients that we're now working with, real strong brands. We're working with more character IPs, which is really exciting.”


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Transforming the business: Meet the minds behind RWS Entertainment Group | Planet Attractions
feature

Transforming the business: Meet the minds behind RWS Entertainment Group

Keith James, president of JRA; Robin Breese-Davies, executive vice president of ted; and Danielle Kramer, executive vice president of RWS, speak to Planet Attractions about what looks to be a bumper year ahead for the company





Recent times have seen big changes for companies RWS Entertainment Group, JRA and ted.

It’s been a huge year for all three brands, which now operate under one banner following the acquisition of JRA in November 2021 and ted shortly after in April 2022.

Offering significantly expanded capabilities, the group is now positioned as one of the world’s largest full-service providers of visitor attractions and experiences.

Planet Attractions spoke to Keith James, president of JRA; Robin Breese-Davies, executive vice president of ted; and Danielle Kramer, executive vice president of RWS, about the acquisitions, how that has changed operations, and the most exciting things to come out of the moves ahead of what looks to be a bumper 2023 for RWS.



Keith James: “For me, I grew up in the business. This is all I've ever done. I love it. I still love it. I'm having a good time and I've known founder and CEO Ryan Stana a long, long time. So things are going quite well.

Things are different. Obviously, we went from being a family to being part of a company. That makes things different. But you know, the feeling is good. Plenty of opportunities for my staff and that's really what was a significant part of my desire - to make sure that things continued for them and that they had plenty of opportunities.”

Robin Breese-Davies: “It's beyond my expectations, actually. It's like selling a house. When you sign on that dotted line, you're not really in control of what happens afterwards. So you got to have faith in the deal and you got to make sure everything's covered off in the agreement. And it's worked really well.

Relationships are stronger than I had hoped for. I feel like I've still got the autonomy as if I still own the business but I'm part of a bigger business, a bigger family. On a personal note, I got a lot more support at a leadership level, tapping into the experience and the skillset at RWS. It's been a real, real pleasure for me.”

Danielle Kramer: “You go through a range of emotions because at first you're nervous and you're meeting new people and it's like, what are they going to think? What are we going to think? How are we going to interact? But it's truly been amazing.

My relationship with Robin and Keith is so amazing. We're so collaborative, which I'm so appreciative of. Keith is also a titan in the industry so I'm learning so much from him. Robin is very much a true CEO in his business. He knows it inside and out, and I love learning from him.

I think overall with the acquisition, not only are we rounding out our capabilities, but we're rounding out our staff as a whole. It's exciting to bring people's different personalities into the mix and their talents into the mix. The collaboration has just been great. I think our staff is learning a lot from each other and new ideas, new experiences, new capabilities. It's really exciting.”



Robin Breese-Davies: “Ted's core client base historically would be very much in the travel industry. So tour operators, hotels, resorts, holiday parks in the UK and of course cruise companies. They were our core markets, whereas now we're being introduced to different theme parks, attractions, museums, seasonal attractions.

Ted and its services are being introduced to all these new client bases which brings a new talent for us to work with. It means we're able to attract and retain our staff better than we've ever done before because we've got more variety of a client base. It's meant a lot more travel.

If you were to ask any staff member now compared to how it was before April, before the acquisition, having that variety of work and the variety of client base and variety of geographical location has been a huge positive this year.”

Danielle Kramer: “Well, first of all, JRA - their design capabilities are amazing. I'm personally really excited about the Prince experience. I haven't visited yet, but I want to. Also, the Friends experience in New York - people come to me all the time saying, 'oh, your company produced that?' and I'm excitedly like 'yes'. But then also from the ted side, our merchandising is very exciting to me because we never had that capability before, as well as the fitness and wellness piece of it, which is very exciting. AV and tech on the ted side is also amazing and it's really rounding out RWS's offerings.”

Keith James: “The biggest new area is the cruise line business for JRA. We had only worked on one cruise ship before we joined RWS. Now we're working on several, one of which is launching soon.

On the other sides of the business, we have quite a few common clients. So a number of our clients are becoming familiar with RWS and ted and what they do and a number of their clients are becoming familiar with what JRA does. So I think in the future, things are going to overlap more and more and they're going to compliment one another more and more.

It's not a whole bunch of new worlds. It's just Ryan Stana and his group, and Robin and his group have produced a lot of entertainment in the resort business and the cruise line business. Well, we can design the theatres and the attractions into which the shows go. So it's really complimentary.”



Danielle Kramer: “We also have Binder Casting, which is a subsidiary of ours as well. Between that - bringing that broadway feel into things - merging cruise ships and merging theme parks is truly making entertainment one.

At this point, our performers know that they have a trajectory with us to start maybe at a retail centre or a theme park, go onto a cruise ship and they can move on to an off-Broadway show, a Broadway show or even commercials through Binder Casting.

It's been amazing for our talent to see that they have a trajectory. So then we get better talent and then also it keeps them with us for quite a long time and creates more of an extended family for us in our seasonal employees and performers.”



Danielle Kramer: “Really, truly, everything that we work on from the tiniest project with the smallest budget, to a really high budget, high profile client - they all have something so special in them that is what makes me and it's what makes our business so special that it's never the same thing twice.

I can't pick one because I love them all and truly our clients across the board - ted, JRA, RWS and Binder - our clients are all partners more than they are clients.

I truly enjoy working with the folks that I have the chance to work with every day. And so I can't pick one!”

Keith James: “I'm particularly excited about the cruise ship work that we're doing with MSC Cruises because that's new for our company and those projects. I know one of the ships will launch soon and that'll be very exciting when it comes out.

We're also working with some of the older theme parks that do have histories almost as long as mine. So it's a lot of fun to be involved in some of the places that I remember from the beginning of my time and just finding and learning the other things and learning about where we can overlap more and more and more and see where we can help one another.

Do better and more. It's lots of new projects, lots of opportunities. If the economy has settled down and if the pandemic is really gone, the opportunities are tremendous.”

Robin Breese-Davies: “The key big projects that ted traditionally have not worked with is being introduced, things like Warner Brothers. So we've got a really great project with Parque Warner out of Madrid.

We've also been meeting with really established zoos and museums across the US. We've got some really strong clients that we're now working with, real strong brands. We're working with more character IPs, which is really exciting.”


 



© Kazoo 5 Limited 2023