BookMyShow optimistic about its survival

Business Covid-19

Backed by its new streaming service, BookMyShow is hoping to recover from losses despite an increase in total expenses.

Jammu: The new BookMyShow streaming service, introduced in February 2021, has been a gamechanger for the company and has seemed to have attracted consumers. 

BookMyShow’s primary revenue is generated from the movie business despite having successfully entered the virtual entertainment business. The company reported a loss of Rs. 211.55 crore in Financial Year (FY) 2020-21, as compared to Rs. 115.18 crore the previous year. Despite expenses jumping from Rs. 733 crore compared to Rs. 950 crore in FY 2020-21, the company is positive of making a recovery.

Chhavi Kohli, a resident in Delhi, said, “I have been using BookMyShow regularly since the pandemic hit. I’ve enjoyed the latest streaming service as well and have watched movies like Zack Snyder’s Justice League and Tenet.” 

“The video-on-demand service is very different from a Netflix or an Amazon account. It is called transactional video on demand, like a pay-per-view model, where you pay for only what you want to watch,” said Supraja Srinivasan, a spokesperson for BookMyShow. 

Harshit, from Humans of Cinema, said, “Pay-per-view model should work in a country like India, especially if you look at platforms like Netflix. Paying Rs. 500 per month for Netflix is just not viable for people in India. Also, people don’t want to watch most of the content on these OTT platforms, so it is a good alternative for people to pay only for the films they want to watch.”

Along with the streaming of movies, virtual events have also attracted customers during the pandemic. “I have attended numerous virtual stand-up comedy events through BookMyShow in the past year,” said Anirudh Abrol, a resident of Jammu.

“When BookMyShow launched the streaming service, they launched it with over 600 movie titles and 72,000 hours of content,” said Supraja. She added that the library is specially curated and handpicked with the best and award-winning movies from around the world.

One of the most awaited films of 2021, Zack Snyder’s Justice League was released exclusively on BookMyShow, which brought in a lot of customers. 

“The platform as of now hasn’t been super successful as it is still new as compared to Netflix or Amazon. The platform is moving in the right direction, they’re collaborating with the right people to create the hype,” said Harshit.

Supraja explained that the company started with three ticketed virtual events in March 2020, and by June, 80 percent of the virtual events listed on BookMyShow were ticketed.

In an interview, Ashish Hemrajani, founder of BookMyShow, said that he would like 50 percent of BookMyShow’s revenue to come from movies. The company has taken various steps to ensure this.

Since most cinema halls were shut for a major part of last year, the company has helped businesses digitise their systems. “From April-October 2020, we digitised over 800 cinemas in tier two and tier three cities during the first six months of the pandemic,” said Supraja.

“Around October 2020, when cinemas were allowed to function with 50 percent capacity, and limited movies were released, we saw a sharp recovery for cinema tickets. We sold more than 15 million tickets in just five months,” added  Supraja. 

Rachit Gupta, owner of Apsara Theatre in Jammu, said, “We have been in business with BookMyShow for three years. They have helped us shift our business online, which is always safer as it leads to contactless service. Offline bookings were still happening, last time the theatre was functioning, which I’m sure will be next to none when we open back up.”