We Have Created a Shift in the Way People Consume Entertainment — Anil Makhija, BookMyShow

Industry Watch | June 16, 2017 | Interview


Founded in the year 1999, BookMyShow is one online ticketing platform that has revolutionized the way Indian audiences look at events. From providing complete solutions to the ticketing aspect of all genres of events to now getting into the marketing of large-scale festivals, the platform has done it all, and has big plans of expanding its operations in the future.

In an exclusive interaction with Anil Makhija, VP of Service Delivery at BookMyShow, EVENTFAQS finds out about the services the platform offers to event planners, the business model in place and the challenges of partnering with large format events and festivals.

Share with us some of the tech solutions your platform can offer to event managers to elevate the experience quotient at their events?

At BookMyShow, all our decisions and efforts are centred around our users. We realised a long time ago that technology can be a huge enabler in enhancing user experience at events. Since then, we have adopted numerous technologies across all events – be it sports, music, theatre. The gamut of services offered by BookMyShow encompasses multiple touch points such that the end consumers connect with BookMyShow from the time a ticket is booked until they leave the event venue once it’s over.

On the ticketing front, as soon as a user books a ticket, our systems generate and send out a booking confirmation. The nomenclature of this confirmation and the content shared in it is kept secured from the time it is issued until the time the customer visits a box office to collect the physical ticket. The exchange is only completed once all the verification details are matched, making sure that only the real customer receives the tickets. The physical ticket is also secured through the use of multiple features to prevent any unauthorized entries into the event premises.

Once the tickets are issued and handed over to the end user, crowd management then becomes the next crucial task. Ensuring that only those customers holding valid tickets are allowed to enter the venue while maintaining a level of ease for the customers to do so, is paramount. At BookMyShow, we deploy state of the art turnstiles with built-in ticket scanners which are configured to read only what we chose to print and place on the tickets.

Once the attendees are inside the event premises, our focus is on ensuring that they have the best time. Our contact less RFID and cashless card systems allow the organiser and the attendees to transact in a swift manner.  Attendees simply need to visit a top-up counter, pay local currency via cash, card or wallet, attain the loaded festival card and then move on to eat, drink or buy merchandise with it. By doing this, the collection of cash is limited to certain points, queues clear much faster and the organisers can get detailed reports on the sale of each item, allowing them to tweak their offerings basis consumption patterns. This system is entirely network agnostic allowing for seamless execution of an event.

Share with us some statistics or insights into the ticket purchasing habits of an Indian audience today.

It’s actually a combination of factors that really come into play here. For large events, especially those involving international artists, the anticipation among the audience is already very high and therefore, certain ticket categories mostly get sold out in a matter of hours and that too months in advance. Ticket prices, ticket availability, publicity and promotion of the event, date, time and venue - everything has an impact on the ticket sales. For niche events which have a much-targeted audience, the tickets are generally bought closer to the event date. One of the benefits that organisers get to avail when they list their event on BookMyShow is that we also help them reach the relevant target audience based on our analysis of entertainment consumption of our users.   

What are the prerequisites for an event to be featured on your platform? What is the economic model in place and how does it work?

We have kept our model extremely simple and transparent. All ticketed entertainment events, right from walking tours to theatre festivals, can find a place on BookMyShow and reach out to the right audience. As India’s biggest online entertainment ticketing platform, we currently work with numerous venues, organisers, and brands.

Based on exclusivity or non-exclusivity of an event, BookMyShow chargers a percentage for every ticket sold through our platform. This percentage could vary basis other factors such as ticket prices, genre, timeline etc. This way, our revenue model is entirely based on our performance, making us highly credible.

What are the challenges you face as the ticketing partner for large-scale events such as the Justin Bieber concert, Coldplay Global Citizen Festival, Sunburn, etc?

The crowd attending these events easily runs into thousands and ensuring that each member of that audience has a great experience is definitely a challenge that we are always excited to win. BookMyShow continues to be the preferred partner for such mega events due to our experience and our ability to meet the viewers’ expectations. Over the years, we have understood that timely planning and execution of these events and compliance is quite important to avoid any last-minute glitches. Planning from an early stage, following a disciplined approach, adhering to set timelines, and making provision for adequate facilities is imperative to offer a truly world class experience to a spectator. Another key leaning is also to keep the customer well informed at all times. Basic yet critical information about an event – be it parking, allowing handbags or power banks inside the venue, facilities- all questions must be promptly provided answers to. 

How do you propose the event fraternity can work in tandem with your platform to create a more streamline process of event ticketing?

As a category leader, BookMyShow is not just about providing services to our partners and users. Our product has been able to bring about a shift in the way people consume entertainment. We brought this change in the movies space and we continue to innovate to keep enhancing user experience. Now, we are replicating this in the events space as well. Our platform offers end to end services to our partners and over the years, we have been able to transform this category with BookMyShow. We also made a strategic investment in Townscript, as we spotted a tremendous opportunity and need for streamlining the DIY space.

While BookMyShow has been the ticketing partner for all large-scale events in India recently, it still does not however, cover the entire landscape of Indian events. Is there a thought which has gone behind this?

BookMyShow today is the go-to entertainment ticketing platform for millions of users in the country. Likewise, we are also the preferred for all entertainment event organizers. For large scale events like Justin Bieber concert, we provide end to end ticketing solutions including on-ground management of the event. We have started extending this service to small scale events as well and are seeing tremendous success there too. Majorly all events- be it plays, concerts, activities are listed on BookMyShow. Moreover, with Townscript, the DIY ticketing platform, all small and medium scale event organizers have a brilliant platform to manage ticketing for their own events, thus allowing us to cover the entire spectrum of events. 

In an interaction with Anil Makhija at BookMyShow, we talk about the services the platform offers to event planners, the business model in place and the challenges of partnering with events.

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