BookMyShow - The Indian Startup That Did Not Have A Smooth Sail

Are you a movie buff? If it's a no, then we're sorry to burst your lie! Come on, everyone needs to catch up a movie: for unwinding, relaxing, and some or the other reason. The genre is what differentiates the audience. Some love action, others root for rom-com, teens want drama, and all that jazz. There will be never ending choices. But someone is there to unite movie goers. And that is BookMyShow.com, the website that offers a plethora of options when it comes to booking tickets. Movies, parties, events, and what not—BookMyShow has it all covered. Booking tickets has become as easy as ABC courtesy of this company. But turning into a huge success wasn't an overnight journey for BookMyShow. Time to shed some light on the startup's story and some more information on it. Read on to know how the company rose from being a startup to becoming the most popular company in the online entertainment ticket booking segment; we've also covered BookMyShow's current profile and status.

Book My Show Highlights

Startup Name Book My Show
Headquarter Mumbai
Founder Ashish Hemrajani, Parikshit Dar & Rajesh Balpande
Sector Online Ticket Booking
Founded 1999
Parent Organization Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd

About BookMyShow
BookMyShow - Industry Details
BookMyShow - Founders and CEO
BookMyShow - History and Conception
BookMyShow - Name and Logo
BookMyShow - Services
BookMyShow - Business Model
BookMyShow - Revenue Model
BookMyShow - Revenue/Turnover/Profit
BookMyShow - Funding & Investors
BookMyShow - Valuation & Net Worth
BookMyShow - Challenges
BookMyShow - Competitors
BookMyShow - Partners
BookMyShow - Achievements
BookMyShow - Awards
BookMyShow - Acquisitions
BookMyShow - Future Plans
BookMyShow - Founder's Advice

About BookMyShow

Currently, The company is India’s largest entertainment ticketing platform. Book MyShow started out in 1999 as a software re-seller for movie theaters and converted its model into a platform catering to cloud-based events, movies, sports, and plays booking. BookMyShow was known by the name of its parent company, Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. during 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 as initial capital to INR 391 crore revenue in FY2018, from the Dot Com crash in the early 2000s to the Global Financial Crisis of 2008, the company has a story no less on par with the David v/s Goliath legend. BookMyShow managed to sail through the tough times and emerged 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 states that 50 percent of the industry revenue has been coming from movies, with the next big contributor being events. Sporting events, concerts, and other live entertainment shows contributed were the significant money making aspects in the almost $330-million revenue generated by the online ticketing industry in 2017.  

With the big guns relentlessly acquiring the smaller companies in this domain, a CAGR of 20 percent is expected in the online ticketing industry by 2020.  

Within a decade of its inception, BookMyShow has contributed 40% CAGR in revenues. BookMyShow holds around 90% market share in the online ticket booking industry.  

Relevant Read: Success Story of Make My Trip

BookMyShow - Founders & CEO

Ashish Hemrajani, Parikshit Dar, and Rajesh Balpande are the founders of BookMyShow.

Ashish Hemrajani is the CEO of Book My Show. Prior to launching BookMyShow (earlier known as Bigtree Entertainment Pvt Ltd),  Asish worked at J. Walter Thompson, an advertising firm.

The trio of Book My Show—Ashish, Parikshit, and Rajesh—are alumnus of Sydenham Institute of Management, Mumbai University.

BookMyShow - History and Conception

The alcohol did it for him! After his master's, 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 the promotion of rugby tickets on radio (Newton reincarnated?). An idea sparked in his mind; a solution that was going to bring about a change. Ashish came back to his country, India, and resigned from his job immediately to focus on his idea. He thought of Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd. to focus on 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 parent mindful of their child's career. Finally, Ashish was able to convince them. At the age of 24, he launched his first ever internet venture with itss 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, thus started Bigtree Entertainment Pvt. Ltd., the parent company of BookMyShow.

BookMyShow was initially branded as ‘Go For Ticketing’. In 2002, the company was renamed ‘India Ticketing’ before ending up as what we know the online booking behemoth today.

In 2007, BookMyShow, 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.

Book My Show logo

BookMyShow - Services

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

One can avail the services of BookMyShow through its website or through the BookMyShow 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.

Book My Show also has 24/7 customer service.

BookMyShow - Business Model and How it Works

BookMyShow has exclusive access to Vista ERP APIs used by movie theaters and multiplexes, integrating them with the backend of its App to give you real-time availability of movie tickets. BookMyShow 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 - Revenue Model and How it Makes Money

Book My Show's 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. This difference is what BookMyShow keeps. As far as non-movie events are concerned, BookMyShow gets a commission from the sale of such tickets.

Non-ticketing revenue

Any company that wants to promote their artwork, which includes, but is not restricted to films and short films, can approach BookMyShow to gain an “interest creation” boost with their online audience. BookMyShow takes advantage of its massive page views to promote these new artists and their offerings. Once a ticket has been paid for, it is deemed sold; it can neither be replaced nor be canceled.

BookMyShow - Revenue/Turnover/Profit

Book My Show registered a 30% growth in operational revenue in FY 2018. As per reports, Book My Show earned a revenue of INR 391 Cr. in FY 2018 as compared to INR 300.9 Cr in FY 2017.

In the fiscal year ending March 2018, Book My Show reported a loss of INR 162 Cr. Its losses in the previous year stood at INR 139 Cr.

Book My Show has been in the green (read making profits) for the past few years. The company reported loss of just Rs 1 Cr. in 2016. However, the company's losses have have witnessed an uptick due to its investment in non-movie segments and through the rise of new competitors.

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 & debit card facilities, and infrastructure setup. The number of multiplexes across India also proliferated.  With this favorable scenario in the backdrop coupled with BookMyShows's promising business plan, investors were willing to put in their money in the company.  

BookMyShow has raised a total  funding of $224.5 in 5 rounds. The latest funding was in July 2018 from a series D round.

Funding Date Stage Amount Book My Show Investors
March 2007 Seed undisclosed Network 18
August 2012 Series A $18M Accel
June 2014 Series B $25M Saif Partners
July 2016 Series C $81.5M Accel, Saif partners, Stripes Group, Network18
July 2018 Series D $100M TPG Growth

BookMyShow - Valuation & Net Worth

Sources says that prior to raising $100M funding from 'TPG Growth' in July 2018, BookMyShow was valued at about $750 million. With the boost from TPG Growth, BookMyShow now hovers at around $850 million.

According to a recent report, BookMyShow is likely to sell 10-12 % of its stake to Private equity major General Atlantic, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund Temasek, and investment banking major Goldman Sachs (others are being considered as well). If the sale is successful, this deal is likely to push BookMyShow's valuation to around $1 billion, making it a unicorn venture.

However, there is no data backing the exact net worth of BookMyShow as of today.

BookMyShow - Challenges

The journey was an arduous one for BookMyShow. 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 card 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 buying tickets in bulks and sent hundreds of people on bike to deliver the tickets to customers. However, this business model wasn't scalable and the company had to take it off.

In the early days, Book My Show 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, BookMyShow’s capital partner, sold off it stake to Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Then in 2002, BookMyShow was subjected to 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 the 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 welcoming changes in the Indian market. Internet facilities improved, and credit and debit cards became popular. The number of multiplexes proliferated. BookMyShow wanted to gain back its erstwhile strong footing. So, it started selling software solution providers, providing automated ticketing software to multiplexes. The company also started running call centers for its clients. BookMyShow gradually generated profits and was worth 24.1 crore 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, BookMyShow s

BookMyShow - Competitors

BookMyShow's local competitors include  Explara, TicketGenie, Kyazoonga, IndianStage, BookMyEvent, MeraEvents, Asklaila, TicketCountes, etc. However, BookMyShow has an early bird advantage over them.

Currently, BookMyShow is facing stiff competition from Paytm which offers discounts and cash backs to users on purchase of movie tickets through the Paytm platform.

Despite competition, according to a recent report by Kalagato, 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 any of its competitors and firmly established, make it difficult for new players to entrench themselves.  

In September 2018, Inox Leisure, India's second largest multiplex chain stopped offering its ticket for sale 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 into this demand. The dispute fortunately did not last long and in October 2018, the two parties were back at talking terms.

BookMyShow - Achievements

Book My Show is now the market leader in online ticket booking industry. Some major achievements of the company are –

  • 50 million+ app downloads.
  • 15 million+ ticket sold in a month.
  • 2 billion+ page views each year.
  • 30 million+ customers.
  • Operating in 5 countries.
  • Covers 650+ towns and cities.
  • Covers 5000+ 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 crore in FY2018

BookMyShow - Awards

  • 'The Hottest Company of the Year-2011-12' and 'The Company to watch out for' at the prestigious CNBC Young Turks Award.
  • ‘Best Omni-channel Customer Experience Brand’ at the OneDirect Quest Customer Experience (QuestCX) Awards.  

BookMyShow - Acquisitions

  • March 2013: BookMyShow acquired Chennai based online ticketing company Ticket Green.
  • Feb 2015:  Acquired Bangalore based Social Media Analytics firm Eventifier.
  • Mar 2016: Acquired a majority stake in Chennai-based Fantain Sports Pvt. Ltd.  
  • January 2015: Acquired Mastiticket, a Hyderabad based ticketing firm.  
  • February 2017: Acquired a majority stake in Pune based DIY events ticketing and registration platform Townscript.
  • July 2017: Acquired India’s oldest food tech business Burrp!  
  • August 2017:  BookMyShow acquired Nfusion for its audio entertainment offering –  BookMyShow Jukebox!  

BookMyShow - Future Plans

The company wants to add a merchandising section on its website where fans can buy tees, hoodies, and other apparels. The company is going to focus on the mobile segment as nearly 25% of the total booking is done through the mobile app with 20% using wallets as the payment option.

Relevant Read: LaYuva - A Platform that lets you Shop, Save and Earn

BookMyShow - Founder's Advice

It is all about going out and trying. But don’t follow the herd. You have got to be very clear why your idea or you as a person will succeed in this environment. How disruptive your technology is.  
Website - Book My Show

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About Shubham Kumar

Founder @StartupTalky. IIT KGP grad. Learner. Dedicated to the service of the startup Ecosystem. Love meeting people. Let's connect - [email protected]
  • Bangalore