Big Ticket
Category: Entrepreneurs By : Aastha Saboo Read : 938 Date : Thursday, October 13, 2016 - 11:38:25




Courtesy of BookMyShow

Growing up in India, where many are passionate about movies, 41-year-old Ashish Hemrajani, with his friends, Rajesh Balpinde and Parikshit Dar, started one of India’s first online movie and event ticketing sites. The idea first struck them while Ashish and his friends were backpacking in South Africa in 1999, where he heard over the radio about tickets to a rugby match being sold online.

This idea made such an impression on Ashish that he quit his advertising job that same year and started selling tickets online with his two co-founders, setting up Bigtree Entertainment, the parent company of the site. They initially called the site Goforticketing, then later renamed it Indiaticketing, and finally BookMyShow in 2007.

In the early days it was a modest operation. The company sold mostly movie tickets, buying them in bulk from cinemas, and then selling them online. On weekends, it would make a profit, but weekdays it usually lost money. Today, BookMyShow operates in three countries: India, Indonesia and New Zealand. It offers tickets on sports events, performances, expos and so on, as well as movies.

Its latest global expansion is into Indonesia in June (Sri Lanka is also planned for this year). “After we discovered Indonesia, we saw that this country fits the company perfectly in terms of the size of the market and cultural diversity. It is a consumer driven economy,” says Ashish in his Mumbai office. “There is big opportunity for us here. Indonesia is severely underpenetrated in terms of screen density and we believe this is set to explode over the next five years,” says Karan Khetan, co-founder of BookMyShow Indonesia. According to Karan, Indonesia has approximately 250,000 people per cinema screen, whereas a country like India has one screen per 100,000 people. Even China has one screen per 45,000 people.

BookMyShow Indonesia is similar to the parent site; it is a movie and event-ticketing platform, and also offers content in the form of videos, trailers, reviews and blogs. Like its operations in India, the company plans to include food and beverage along with the ticket booking—allowing customers to pre-order food and drink to enjoy during the movie.

The site makes money by charging users a convenience fee, around 10% of the ticket price. “Cinemas who have their own online ticket system also charge this, and customers are always willing to pay this additional fee, because of the convenience of ordering ahead to ensure one get seats,” says Ashish.

“Our main aim is to also increase cinema occupancy, especially on the weekdays, when it’s tough for theater to fill the seats,” says BookMyShow Indonesia co-founder Sudhir Syal. BookMyShow Indonesia has set aggressive targets for itself. Currently the site has one million page views per month, and 2,000 users, and plans to increase their target to two million page views per month by the end of the year and have 5,000 users. The site has already partnered with cinema chains like Blitz, Platinum and Cinemaxx, taking their current number of screens to almost 160 screens. They are aiming to reach 300 screens by yearend.

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