BookMyShow Success Story: How is it Facilitating Hassle-Free Booking of Tickets?

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Are you a movie buff? If it's a no, then sorry to call you out on your bluff. Come on, there are endless reasons for watching a movie: for unwinding after a long day, escaping reality for a couple of hours, having a good laugh, spending time with friends, and the list goes on and on. The genre differentiates the audience; some love action, others root for rom-com, teens want drama and all that jazz. Choices are never-ending. However, it is important to note that there's something for everyone.

One platform that unites all movie-goers is, a platform that offers a plethora of options when it comes to booking tickets. Movies, parties, events, and everything else you can imagine—BookMyShow has it all covered. Booking tickets has become as easy as ABC courtesy of this venture. But turning into a successful venture wasn't an overnight journey for them.

Read on to know how the company rose from a nascent startup to becoming the most sought-after player in the online entertainment ticket booking segment.

BookMyShow - Company Highlights

  • Startup Name-BookMyShow
  • Headquarters-Mumbai
  • Founders-Ashish Hemrajani, Parikshit Dar, and Rajesh Balpande
  • Sector-Online Ticket Booking
  • Founded-1999
  • Total Funding-$224.5 mn (March 2022)
  • Revenue-$73.94 mn (INR 563 cr in FY20)
  • Parent Organization-Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd

BookMyShow - About

The company is currently India’s largest entertainment ticketing platform. BookMyShow started out in 1999 as a software re-seller for movie theaters and converted into a platform catering to cloud-based ticket booking of events, movies, sports, and plays. BookMyShow was known by the name of its parent company, Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., at the time of its inception.

It operates in 5+ countries with more than 30+ million customers. In sixteen years, BookMyShow has been through a roller-coaster ride, seeing all kinds of crests and troughs. From INR 25,000 in initial capital to INR 391 crores in revenue in FY2018, from the 'Dot Com' crash in the early 2000s to the global financial crisis of 2008, the company has a story at par with the David v/s Goliath legend. It managed to sail through tough times and emerged as a winner in the end.

BookMyShow - Industry Details

According to a RedSeer report, the online ticketing market in India has recorded a quarterly revenue of $28 million.

Moreover, RedSeer's 'online ticket market updates' report states that 50% of the industry revenue has been coming from movies with events being the next major contributor. Sporting events, concerts, and other live entertainment shows were the significant money-making components of the almost $330 million revenue generated by the online ticketing industry in 2017.  

With the big guns relentlessly acquiring smaller competitors in this domain, a CAGR of 20% is expected in the online ticketing industry by 2020 according to Wikipedia. Within a decade of its inception, BookMyShow has achieved 40% CAGR in revenues. The company holds around 90% market share in the online ticket booking industry.

BookMyShow - Founders and Team

Ashish Hemrajani, Parikshit Dar and Rajesh Balpande

(L to R) Ashish Hemrajani, Parikshit Dar, and Rajesh Balpande

The founders of BookMyShow are 3 friends, Ashish Hemrajani, Parikshit Dar, and Rajesh Balpande. They are the alumnus of Sydenham Institute of Management, Mumbai University. Ashish Hemrajani is the CEO of BookMyShow.

Ashish Hemrajani

Ashish Hemrajani is an MBA Marketing graduate from Sydenham. Prior to launching BookMyShow, Asish worked at J. Walter Thompson, an advertising firm, where he served in the Account Management and Client Management departments respectively. He then pivoted with BookMyShow and is still the Founder and CEO of the company.

Under Ashish’s leadership, Bigtree Entertainment survived the Dot Com bust by providing back-end ticketing services to cinema theatres and selling the Vista ticketing software. Multiplexes were growing and credit/debit card penetration in the market increased which led to the launch of BookMyShow. Ashish and his team saw the opportunity and made it successful.

Rajesh Balpande

Rajesh Balpande worked as an investment banker with The Chatterjee Group before joining his friend Ashish in the venture. He is still known as the Co-founder of BookMyShow and the Founder of Bigtree Entertainment.

Parikshit Dar

Parikshit Dar is another Co-founder of BookMyShow. Dar is currently known as the Director of Bigtree Entertainment and the Co-founder of BookMyShow. Dar was also a student of Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics along with the other founders and completed his MBA in 1997. With an expertise in technology, Dar was involved in the tech part of the brand and its website. From designing and developing the BookMyShow website to building its ticketing portal and the supporting back-end technology, Dar's contribution to BookMyShow is huge!  

BookMyShow - Startup Story

The alcohol did it for him! After his master's degree, Ashish was working for J.W. Thompson, an advertising agency. He was on a backpacking trip in South Africa. On one such day, he was sitting under a tree listening to the promotion of rugby tickets on radio (Newton reincarnated?). An idea sparked in Ashish's mind. Ashish came back to India and immediately resigned from his job to focus on his idea. He thought of Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. as a means to transform the niche of ticket booking.

However, starting was far from easy. When Ashish told his parents about his business idea, they weren't happy. Uncertainty and concern hit them like any other parents mindful of their child's career but he was able to convince them. At the age of 24, he launched his first ever internet venture with its head office being his bedroom. Soon after, his friend Parikshit Dar joined him to lead the technological aspects and another co-founder, Rajesh Balpande, took over the responsibility of managing Bigtree's finances. The trio, fondly known as the three musketeers, started Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. (the parent company of BookMyShow) in the process. And that's how BookMyShow started.

BookMyShow - Name And Logo

BookMyShow was initially branded as ‘Go For Ticketing’. In 2002, the company was renamed ‘India Ticketing’ before ending up with the current name.

In 2007, the company, then known as India Ticketing, organized a contest for its employees where they were to suggest a name for the company with the winner receiving an iPod touch. The name BookMyShow was suggested by an engineering intern. And that's how the venture found a name that clicked with its mission and vision.

BookMyShow - Services

BookMyShow initially kept itself to movie tickets but soon had its fingers in various pies. It now sells tickets for anything and everything that has to do with entertainment—movies, plays, fairs, sports, etc. You can also book tickets for monument exhibitions and international events on the platform. The company also introduced tickets for activities happening in one's vicinity.

One can avail the services of BookMyShow through its website or mobile app. The app was first launched in 2012. It's available for Windows, Android, iOS, and Blackberry. The company keeps updating and upgrading the app from time to time. BookMyShow also launched a 'progressive web app' in 2017. The app allows users to check show timings, book tickets, read reviews, watch trailers, and more. BookMyShow also provides 24/7 customer service.

BookMyShow - Business Model and Revenue Model

BookMyShow has exclusive access to Vista ERP APIs that are used by movie theaters and multiplexes. It integrates these APIs with the backend of its app to show real-time availability of movie tickets. The company opens up these APIs to other players for providing allied services—parking, F&B, shopping destinations, retail stores, and security—for upselling and cross-selling.

BookMyShow makes money through the following sources:

Ticketing revenue: This is the major source of revenue, contributing around 60% of the total earnings. It includes internet handling fees and commissions on ticket booking. The company charges a convenience fee over and above the price of the tickets. BookMyShow keeps this difference. As far as non-movie events are concerned, it gets a commission from the sale of tickets to such events.

Non-ticketing revenue: Any company that wants to promote its artwork, which includes but is not restricted to films and short films, can approach BookMyShow to gain an “interest creation” boost with the online audience. The company collaborating with BookMyShow takes advantage of the latter's massive page views to promote new artists and their offerings. Once a ticket has been paid for, it is deemed sold. The ticket can then neither be replaced nor be cancelled.

BookMyShow - Growth and Revenue

The company has been founded back in 1999, when watching movie meant only in theatres and buying movie tickets meant only at the movie hall counters. Therefore, BookMyShow undoubtedly brought nothing short of a revolution here, leveraging the digital technology.

Looking at the growth, it is to be noted that BookMyShow is presently operating in 650+ towns and cities, and 4500+ screens in India. The company also forayed into the Southeast Asian markets in 2016, and is successful there.  

BookMyShow's total revenue declined from INR 596.61 crore (FY19) to INR 563 crore in FY20. The obvious reason for this 6% decrease in revenue is the hard lockdown of the country, which impeded the growth of the movie business. This decline will be heavier in its upcoming FY21 financials, according to many reports. Of the INR 563 crore of revenue, BookMyShow earned INR 517.61 crore as operational revenue, whereas INR 45.42 crore is noted by the company as its Other Income, which includes the profits it receives from the fixed deposits and current investments.

The total expenses of the company also declined during the same fiscal by around 2%, which was recorded at INR 667 crore in FY20 from INR 679.69 crore.  

BookMyShow registered a 30% growth in operational revenue in FY 2018. As per reports, BookMyShow earned a revenue of INR 391 crores in FY 2018 as compared to INR 300.9 crores in FY 2017. In the fiscal year ending March 2018, BookMyShow reported a loss of INR 162 crores. Its losses in the previous year stood at INR 139 crores. Revenue rose by more than 52% to cross INR 619 crores for the fiscal year 2019, up from INR 406.09 crores in FY 2017-19, as the Mumbai-based company recorded growth across multiple verticals such as live events, online ticket bookings, and software, and turnkey ticketing solutions.

BookMyShow has been in the green (read making profits) over the last few years until Covid 19 stroke like a bolt from the blue. Movie halls shut down, and people began to be cornered in their homes. The deadly disease not only took lives but also battered the show business mercilessly. This resulted in the slashing of the total headcount of Big Tree Entertainment by 96%, which, exclaimed Ashish, was "not a happy moment," stressing that he needed to do it for the organization.

BookMyShow - Funding And Investors

The business thrived in spite of no investor support from 2002 to 2006. After the 'Dot Com' boom settled, the Indian market was revamped with better internet services, credit and debit card facilities, and infrastructure setup. The number of multiplexes across India also proliferated. With a favorable scenario in the backdrop coupled with BookMyShows's promising business plan, investors were willing to put in their money in the company.

BookMyShow raised over $224.5 million in 6 rounds of funding.

BookMyShow started operating in South East Asia in 2016 with its headquarters in Indonesia. With funding from Jungle Ventures, the company is now planning to shift its headquarters to Singapore. As confirmed by BookMyShow SEA's CEO Kenneth Tan, the funds raised will be utilized to enhance the technological operations of BookMyShow SEA and to efficiently cater to the increasing number of users in South East Asian region.

BookMyShow - Challenges

The journey was an arduous one for the company. Be it the hassles of starting a new venture, the 'Dot Com' bubble of 2002, or the 2007 financial crisis, BookMyShow has seen it all. When BigTree Entertainment Pvt Ltd was formed in 1999, selling tickets online wasn't mainstream like today. The internet was still an experimental playground with constantly changing dynamics. The major hurdles to selling tickets were the infrequent usage, if not unavailability, of credit cards, debit cards, and net banking facilities. Poor broadband connectivity and lack of e-ticketing software in theaters only added to the woes.

There was a time when BookMyShow used to buy tickets in bulk and send hundreds of people on bike to deliver the tickets to customers. However, the business model wasn't scalable and the company had to call it off.

In the early days, BookMyShow was mainly doing its business offline. It had 12 call centers in 12 cities with 150 employees and the company was doing good despite the hurdles. Chase, the company’s capital partner, sold off its stake to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Then in 2002, it faced the 'Dot Com' crash. The business was running at an all-time low. The investors retracted and BookMyShow had to buy back its business from News Corp.

To minimize effects from the crisis, BookMyShow cut down employees’ salaries and major expenses. It even shut down some offices and focused on only the major cities: Mumbai and Delhi. The skeleton crew was reduced from 150 members to a paltry 6. Ashish, Parikshit, and Rajesh did not give up even in the face of these adversities. The passing by of the 'Dot Com' debacle brought some wecoming changes in the Indian market.

Internet facilities improved, and credit/debit cards became popular. The number of multiplexes proliferated. BookMyShow wanted to gain back its strong footing. It started selling software solutions, providing automated ticketing software to multiplexes. The company also started running call centers for its clients. BookMyShow gradually generated profits and was worth INR 24.1 crores in 2007.

A pessimist says the glass is half empty, an optimist says it is half full. An entrepreneur looks at the empty section and adds some scotch either to enjoy the journey or be too drunk to bother - Ashish Hemrajani, CEO, BookMyShow.

BookMyShow - Competitors

BookMyShow's local competitors include:

  • Explara
  • TicketGenie
  • Kyazoonga
  • IndianStage
  • BookMyEvent
  • MeraEvents
  • Asklaila
  • TicketCountes

However, it has an early bird advantage over them.

Currently, BookMyShow is facing stiff competition from Paytm which offers discounts and cashback to users on purchase of movie tickets through the Paytm platform. Despite competition, a report by Kalagato says that BookMyShow still holds a 78% market share in the online movie ticketing sector.

As BookMyShow owner Ashish Hemrajani puts it, "Our market share in movie-ticketing has not changed, it has actually gone up. We oscillate between 70% and 75%."

BookMyShow - Partners

With time, BookMyShow has managed to partner with the topmost multiplex chains, theaters, and ace event management companies like Percept (popular for organizing the Sunburn Festival). Although the company's operating model is no more a unique point, it's far ahead of its competitors and firmly established, making it difficult for new players to entrench themselves.  

In September 2018, Inox Leisure, India's second largest multiplex chain stopped offering its tickets on the BookMyShow platform owing to a dispute between the two parties. While Inox demanded more money from BookMyShow for the rights to sell its tickets, the latter refused to heed this demand. The dispute fortunately did not last long and the two parties were back at talking terms in October 2018 .

BookMyShow - Achievements

BookMyShow is now the market leader in online ticket booking industry. Some major achievements of the company are:

  1. 50 million+ app downloads
  2. 15 million+ ticket sold in a month
  3. 2 billion+ page views each year.
  4. 30 million+ customers
  5. Operating in 5 countries
  6. Covers 650+ towns and cities
  7. Covers 4500+ screens

Attracted funding from big names like Stripes Group, Network 18, Accel partners, and SAIF partners

Became official ticketing partner for Mumbai Indians, Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Daredevils, Pune Warriors, and Rajasthan Royals in IPL

Became exclusive ticketing partner for Formula 1 race in India

BookMyShow earned a revenue of INR 391 crores in FY2018, which is currently recorded at INR 563 crore in FY20


Who is BookMyShow's founder?

BookMyShow was founded by Ashish Hemrajani, Parikshit Dar, and Rajesh Balpande.

How much is BookMyShow's current valuation?

The entertainment ticketing platform was in talks in June 2019 to raise $100 million. This would’ve increased its valuation to $1 billion, marking its entry into the unicorn club. However, it has not happened and the current valuation of the company is still under wraps.

Who is the owner of BookMyShow?

Bigtree Entertainment is the parent organization and owner of BookMyShow.

BookMyShow is which country's app?

BookMyShow, perhaps the default name for online ticketing in India, is one of the top three e-commerce websites of India.