Ashish Hemrajani Curated

Founder and CEO, BookMyShow

CURATED BY :  


  • BMS reveals how India consumed leisure in 2018

    BookMyShow has revealed how India consumed out-of-home leisure from its platform in 2018 in a modern report. BookMyShow CEO and founder Ashish Hemrajani stated, “Because the 12 months involves a detailed, thanks to all our customers for selecting BookMyShow. #BestOf2018 is a real reflection of the wonderful 12 months that 2018 has been! India’s leisure panorama goes by means of a radical change and BookMyShow is enjoying its half on this transformation, by offering an unparalleled expertise. 2018 has witnessed nice demand for each motion pictures and stay occasions.”

  • Marketing BookMyShow releases the most effective Of 2018, Advertising and marketing & Promoting Information, ET Brand Equity

    Ashish Hemrajani, CEO and Founder, BookMyShow stated, “Because the yr involves an in depth, thanks to all our customers for selecting BookMyShow. #BestOf2018 is a real reflection of the superb yr that 2018 has been! India’s leisure panorama goes by a radical change and BookMyShow is enjoying its half on this transformation, by offering an unparalleled expertise. 2018 has witnessed nice demand for each motion pictures and dwell occasions. On one hand mega blockbusters like 2.0, Padmaavat and Sanju entertained audiences on the field workplace whereas on the opposite, worldwide experiences like Disney’s Aladdin and Cirque du Soleil BAZZAR left audiences spellbound when it got here to dwell occasions, showcasing 2018 as really a yr of all issues leisure – be it motion pictures, performs, sports activities or live shows! We are actually all set to welcome 2019 and tremendous excited to carry superb out-of-home leisure for hundreds of thousands of leisure lovers in India.”

  • What has internet in India taught you? What have you learnt from internet since then to now? What are all the key lessons?

    Well, you can colour it with a brush stroke of calling it the internet or what has the internet taught me but I would say, along the way a lot of things whether human enterprise endeavour, people, respect, first principles of business or of just being a human and I have been self-taught. These are some of the lessons that I have learnt over a period of time. You know, but if you were to specifically ask me, what has the internet taught me is that, no good times and bad times are permanent, number 1. Number 2, focusing on and obsessing about your customer and putting the right metrics in front of the people internally and externally which is your customers, your users, your employees and your shareholders is very important. And once you do that, you don’t start going crazy and living in your own distortion reality which is some sort of a bubble in your head which is a fake bubble. And what I mean by that is, you know if you have seen the series Silicon Valley or if you have read the book Disrupted, that’s exactly what is happening in India or was happening at least and continues to happen; for example, you have valuations that have far exceeded and run ahead of the metrics and then either the metrics have to catch up to those valuations or the valuations have to come down. And, then, there are so many decisions that get taken and calls that get taken, when you are running a business… they are not in touch with reality as to what that business means for their customers or what their business actually means in an environment which is India. So, for example, everybody ran after this 1.2 billion customer base. That 1.2 billion customer base does not exist. Number 1, you have to realise that India is not one country, it is an amalgamation of many countries put together… which is run by one government. I would say that India is somewhere between the US and Europe. Europe is many countries stitched together with one sort of, free trade agreement and currency, and America is one country. India is like Europe in a lot of ways but it is still one country and when you look at your customer groupings by SEC (socio-economic category), by caste, by disparity and income, by demographic, by language, there are pockets of customers and there are many Indians, three feeds of India, two feeds of India… everybody is running after this one homogenous customer base and that’s why you tend to overspend and do stupid things. We (at Bookmyshow) have never believed in that. And we always knew that we were in a business which needed data and internet connectivity. It needed a device, it needed a payment mechanism and then on top of that, you have had to have spare time and money to be able to go and indulge. So, why would we run after a guy who is in a tier 4 town with an income of Rs 2,000? I would love to have him on my platform but I would not be able to make any revenue out of him. So I am spending money to acquire him but I am not going to be earning ever out of him, my LTV (life-time value) will go for a thousand years for that guy… my lifetime value, if you do a CAC (customer acquisition cost) over LTV, it won’t even add up. But then, once you built a critical mass which we have today… we sell currency when we sell a ticket, we are almost like an RBI, we are issuing currency to you. Once you have a ticket in your hand, it’s my obligation to honour that and if tomorrow there is a show that is cancelled, you are upset about something, we refund you things, we make sure your money is secured, you get the entertainment that we promised. Therefore, over a period of time our NPS (net promoter score) has gone up, we have got a lot of faith with our end-users, our customers… and(we have) a critical mass, now to say that, ‘Hey listen, can we use this as flywheel to do other things? Can we increase our funnel? Can we get in new users? Can we cater to new demographics?’…there is economic disparity and (consumers) may want to consume some sort of entertainment but may not be able to buy. And so therefore, we built other things which are adjacent to in the entertainment business on BookMyShow and that we have started sort of, focusing on over the last two years and suddenly you will see over the next few months, a few of those launches because again, we do it slow but we do it right. I can’t launch five businesses in three months and launch 60 countries in three months, aisa nahi hota hai humse (we don’t do it this way), you know, we are struggling with acquisitions and investments in 4 or 5 companies and trying to get that culture to fit in. For us to take over those companies and work for those people, it takes the mickey out of you! So, if I see every day one company is buying, every fortnight there is a new company that is being acquired, I wonder how you are going to even integrate these guys, right? If you are just buying traffic, then it’s a different thing, then I might as well spend money on SEO (search engine optimisation) and buy traffic.

  • You also seem to be like taking time, you are not really distracted by so-called competition or market forces or anything else.

    See sometimes you need to be nimble, quick, fast, reactive, I don’t disagree but the fact is if you are on a trek and there aren’t any resources and you need to quickly eat a meal to be on your way, you can make instant noodles. No problem. For that time of the day, for that period, instant noodles while climbing in the hills is most important. But if you have the luxury to do the right thing, to do it right, then you need to cook that slow-cooked biryani overnight over coal fire, to get the best bloody biryani on earth, then instant noodles won’t do it for you. So, there is a different place and time for and different environments for different reasons and, therefore, we still call ourselves a startup, we hope to be nimble, we create an environment and culture of people that can be mercenary in a lot of ways when they do certain things but there’s also the objectives and goals that we have set within the company (that) far exceed personal goals or just revenue goals or valuation goals… those are the last goals that we sort of follow, at least in valuation terms, short profitability, revenue, are you making money on everything, you are not blowing up money on stupid things… (these) are extremely important. At the end of the day, what is it that gets you closer to the customer? What is the value that you deliver to the customer? And any action that you take, is it adding value to the life of that customer? And if it’s not, then you shouldn’t be doing it or that person is then not required to be doing that job.

  • Who is this quintessential Indian online buyer? Is he or she the same person who goes online to do an e-commerce transaction or is he or she the same person who consumes digital content in different forms? What is this pool like? Can you bust some myths here?

    Yes. See first of all, there are 1.2 billion Indians which have about eight to nine hundred million handsets with about 400-500 million smartphones and about 350-400 million data connections. With the incumbent new, you know, a new platform and telecom player, those numbers are rapidly changing and dramatically. As the price of connectivity has fallen and the speeds have improved, you will see a big disruption and you have seen that, with mergers and acquisitions happening, new phones being launched, deposit only, free for a long time. So I think there’s been some serious disruption. I believe YouTube’s usage has gone by 5X or 6X over the last maybe eight months or 12 months. So there’s some serious disruption. But having said that, the ecommerce customer in India primarily has been your urban customer, your SEC A and B, your urban customer of top 10 cities, 15 cities at best, and it’s really been your 32+ customer segment and as cash on delivery was offered, that segment changed slightly from SEC A and to B maybe even C and from your top 15 cities to maybe the next 40 or 50 which is your million plus population, next 54 or 56 cities where the pop strata is more than a million plus, it changed to that. As far as BookMyShow is concerned, we are present in more than 620 cities and towns in India. But you may still be present but that’s really not your customer today. I would like that to be my TG, so there is a big difference between who your customer or user is today and what your TG is. Your TG is who you want to go after, your user or customer is who is your customer is today. So for us to widen the funnel, really our focus the way we have divided it, is to say that there is a 24-32 customer base out there, there is 18-24 and then there is a 12-18… and so what are the kind of goods and services, products or content that you would like to cater to for the 24-32… what do you want to cater from somebody who is from 18-24 and then within that, is it language based, so what is your regional strategy? What is your socio-economic demographic? What are you catering to, only the SEC A or B or C? And then there is a geographical spread. So, there are these intersections of segmentation that are very important for you to get to unlike any other country where everybody speaks in Chinese, everybody speaks in English and or people may speak a different language in Europe but the general (trend) there isn’t that much inequality of wealth, the distribution is fairly even. In India, the economic disparity is so much that you may carry the cell phone and so do I and so does your maid or your driver but what that cell phone means to them is very different (from) what the cell phone means to you. So they may be buying the same product but that is there economic gateway because he can get business by driving a car like an Uber or Ola or he could be using that to land himself into a job; he gets called for overtime and that is his life; he will watch a movie on that, that’s his only gateway he may not go to the movies. But on a Sunday, with his family (he will) watch a movie on that by side loading content… and that is his life, that is the centre of his universe. The phone for us is a tool. You may have a 4K TV at home, you may have Netflix, you may have Amazon, you may have Apple TV. Anywhere else in the world, roti, kapda, makaan(food, clothing and shelter) is pretty much taken care of, yahan pe toh usko khane ke liye paisa nahi hai (he doesn’t have money to eat)… he is struggling with paying rent, he is struggling with medical care, he is struggling to send his kids to school but he may still have a smartphone. That’s a very different rationale and reason why he has it. So it’s very important to understand the nuance of that Indian consumer and who and what do you mean to him in his life and only then can you make a difference and unless you cannot make a difference and add value to his life, you have no reason to be in business. If it’s only for profits, then toh koi fayda hee nahi hai (then it’s of no use).

  • What does it take to win this Indian online consumer?

    See first of all, they need to have a data connectivity, pehle toh wohi problem tha, right?! (Earlier, that was the problem, right?!)… there is no data connection itself, that in itself, if you don’t have the roads, what are you going to drive? So, I think, the Japanese took a very long-term view of… if you look at Indonesia, it’s such a wide country, actually railroads would have been the most sensible thing to do in that country. The Japanese invested in that country, building roads and giving soft loans at maybe next to 0% interest because they knew 25 years down the line, they had the vision to know, ki agar road build hoga toh gadi chalegi (the car will only move if the road builds). Today, 70% of all the cars that they drive on Indonesian roads are Japanese cars and 60% or 70% market share out of those 70% Japanese cars is Toyota. So they had the foresight to say, yaar pehle road build karenge toh gadi chalegi na (only if we build the road, will the car move!), agar hum road nahi build karte aur rails ban jaate ya toh phir air strips ban jaate (had we not built roads, either rails or air strips would have been built), people would be taking flights. So, I think that sort of vision and long-term view is lacking from a lot of people. So the point is, the first thing is, that is everybody is connected? Does everybody have a device? That’s your first starting point. Then it has to be a stable and a very cheap low price point connectivity. That problem is getting solved and we are seeing that every day, you are reading about it every day. Once that gets solved, you will have to figure out, what is that the Indian consumer is actually doing? Today, everybody talks about Facebook and they talk about Whatsapp. If you look at urban India, there’s a big phenomenon. The big phenomenon is that, kids below the age of 18 years actually don’t like Facebook, they are not on Facebook because their uncles, aunts and cousins and fathers and mothers are on Facebook, so they want to stay away from Facebook because they don’t want their lives exposed to them, right?! Or they are putting very basic and clean stuff. Everybody is on Snapchat, they are on Instagram. Instagram is where they sort of, really communicate and the ones’ below 15 years in urban India or completely off even Whatsapp, the only way they communicate is on other mediums of communication, they don’t even communicate on Whatsapp. So, it’s this deep understanding of who this Indian consumer is? What are they going to consume? So for example, as far as BookMyShow is concerned I can use our own analogy that we have something called ‘Planet’ where we make a plan for a movie and it’s a chat, service within BookMyShow and four friends can go together. I can make a plan, share the screen, everybody communicates with each other on chat, they are not calling each other, they are chatting on the platform and then they all go to the movies together, decide to meet at a meeting point which is also built into the chat platform and they all split payments, so all the money goes into each one’s wallet, they all split the payments, they all go to the movies together and then they come back as a group. So it’s really about building a social layer and for people to use their native way of communicating today. So when you make a plan today, everybody at least at our age creates a Whatsapp group, ‘dinner at home on so and so date’ and the life of that chat is till the dinner happens and then everybody says happens ‘thank you, thank you, thank you’ and starts exiting the group, right, so it’s a behaviour. So it’s catching these trends and behavioral points. So, I think, the Indian e-commerce customer as you said, is very different in urban markets, it’s very different in Tier 2 markets and we did a small study in rural markets to see how and what do they consume and we found some incredible insights that the mobile phone, the TV, and the temple which is the ghar ka mandir (temple at home) are the three most important things that are in a household. The temple, the mobile phone and the TV are always at the centre of the living room. These kids are wearing soccer clothes and all of that and they are buying from online platforms and they are paying on cash but they have these delivery centres where these goods are getting delivered to a delivery centres which could be about 10-20 kilometres away from your village or your home and they are going on a bike and collect all of that and come. So we were trying to figure out what are there viewing habits, do they like soccer? One interesting insight we found was that, there is a massive following in this country for wrestling. It surprised us and outside of cricket, in a lot of markets wrestling was the number 2 most, sort of followed sport which I mean doesn’t even exist here. So, India is a complicated country but it also makes it that much more fascinating for you to pursue these customer segments and offer products, services, goods to be able to cater to their needs and demands, not just the product that you have built. If you stick to that, ‘Hey listen, this is what I have built, this is what I am going to stick with’, you won’t hit that scale.

  • The death of the screen has long been talked about and then these new disruptors from Amazon to Netflix and all that. In your view from what you have seen, is the death of the screen exaggerated? What is really the future?

    I think it is exaggerated but look I am not a soothsayer or a fortune teller and these may change.

  • How do you look at competition? It will be two decades soon for you as well, right?

    So we’d been around for 18 years. Look, when I founded BookMyShow in 1999 along with two friends, we had about 15 competitors, not very many people. And then, you know, with the dotcom crash… 2001-02 happened in India, all of them died and then again in 2007 when the markets turned, we had a few competitors. By 2008, a couple more died when the Lehman crisis happened and then again when this whole gold rush which is the internet boom, this artificial boom, crazy amount of investing and few ideas and people were going cuckoo in 2012…13…14, again we had some crazy number of companies. So, we acquired a few, we did a slump sale, we invested and few sort of shut down and there are few which are surviving; some really large, horizontal, some which are focused and are raising capital but look it’s important to know who your competitor is but lifelong you cannot have a competitor-obsessive strategy. A lot of companies and I have been to some of my competitors or quasi-competitors, people who wanted to get into our space. They put up these grand posters in their office – kill competition or they will put your brand name and cancel it out… we will be an XYZ killer. If that is the culture that you are building at the leadership founding level, we have seen what has happened recently to certain phenomenal founders internationally, they have been ousted. This doesn’t last, you have to generally be a good person, you have to do the right thing, you have to have your wits about yourself and then if you have these qualities, competition is important, there is no question about it but the fact is, what are you doing to innovate? What are you doing to grow your business? What is your next move for your customer? How are you adding more value to your user or your customer? Are you being able to deliver value in his life? The day you do, you will excel in what you do. The day you don’t, you will become irrelevant but the fact is that if you just follow your competition then either he is going to outbid you or you are going to outbid him. Both are going to be bereft of ideas because everybody can raise capital at scale very easily and you can kill each other with capital. At the end of the day, you are not going to build any lifetime value for the customer, you are just bribing customers to get you. Agar bribe hee karna hai, toh mein yahan Rs 20 ke note lekar khade ho jata hoon, mere office ke bahar 4 kilometre ki line lag jaayegee (if I have to bribe only, I will stand here with Rs 20 notes, there will be a queue of 4 kilometres). If I am handing over Rs 20 bill, so why do I need to start an internet company, hire people, make myself look good as a founder and then give Rs 150 discounts. If I give Rs 150 discount, Rs 40 notes ki line lag jaayegi (there will be a queue for Rs 40 notes). It’s stupid, man! I think it’s just absolutely bizzare, that’s exactly what’s going on. I am handing a Rs 100 bill to a guy and saying ‘you are now my customer, apna email id, mobile number de do, you are my customer’ (give me your email id and mobile number), its called customer acquisition. How often is he coming back? And then people are saying this is land grab, let’s acquire the customer, phir dekhenege na (then we will see), how will he make money out of this customer? Can you please put down what is the light at the end of the tunnel, when are you going to make money? Who’s asking the hard questions, right now it’s all about land grab. It’s stupidity. But let it continue. Everybody will come to their senses for every new hero that is born, in the pink papers of the paper, there are at least another 10 of 20 that die but those don’t get spoken about. Every new restaurant that gets launched, there are nine that get shut down but nobody knows when they shut down. Woh quietly one day, sign board lag jata hai (quietly one day, there is a sign board) but the day they launch, there is a lot of PR activity and celebrities go there, right! Same thing ho rahee hai humaare business mein (same thing is happening in our business), so you have to just stay calm and focus obsessively on your customers and your users and if you do that and you continue to add value in their life, they will keep coming back.

  • Why are you doing what you are doing? Why don’t you get fatigued? It’s been too long, isn’t it?

    I have a funda in life, see if your Monday mornings are as exciting and energetic as your Friday evenings, then you are doing something right in life. The day that equation changes for one of these two, that I start enjoying my Friday evenings more than my Monday mornings or I enjoy my Monday mornings more than my Friday evenings, then some balance has gone off. So balance is very important. You are running a marathon not a sprint. You can’t burden and burn yourself seven days a week as an entrepreneur. I am very passionate about what I do, I am super excited, I love coming into work every day and finding new solutions for users, understanding new user insights. But I also like my Friday evenings, I like my drinks, I like going out, I sail on the weekends, I love spending time with the family, with friends and on Sunday evenings I don’t get depressed, most people go for sundowners on Sunday because they can get drunk because Monday morning depresses them. I am raring to go on Sunday evenings because I have got new ideas for Monday mornings but Friday evenings I also want to switch off and I am like, you know wherever we are going out, I usually spend time with my team, we go out for drinks, Saturdays I am out racing, spending time with the family, so I think that equation and balance is very important. Also, if you ask, I think you have to morph personally into newer things that you can contribute to within your business. So, if you continue to do the same thing, obviously even as an employees, people will get fatigued by doing the same thing but you have to get to every person’s core. If somebody’s core is, that he or she is an extremely right-brained person who is very creative, creative could be in any form, it doesn’t have to be making a painting or writing music or playing music or composing music or directing a film, it could be creative in finding newer solutions for your customers by doing new things, if within the company, by bringing up exciting, new ideas to life and executing them. Well, everybody has great ideas and then it’s about execution, so surrounding yourself with the smartest, best team or probably smarter than you and more competent. For me, I think, you know a lot has changed. There have been phases in my life, the phase that I am going through currently is succession planning not because I want to exit but I am saying, this has been going through a while: how can I make the next set of leaders in the company and what are the things that I can do for them to create the next set of leaders. What is it that I can do for our customers that they love and find us even more endearing? Is there more value that we can add to their lives in some form or function? What is the value that I can add to my shareholders apart from just value creation, economically? Certainly with our employees… so to give you an example on the internal stuff that we do, BookMyShow has been running a medical program, we take care of mediclaim outside of your CTC for every single employee in the company including their spouse and two children and a set of parents, full medical expenses covered.

  • Are there moments of failure? And what is that side of entrepreneurship?

    I have two things to talk to you about that. I don’t look at it as failure, I look at it as learnings because if your quality of input is high and you have studied well for your math paper and you still failed, you tried but failure in that was a learning. So you tried, you couldn’t do it but it didn’t mean that you failed, you learnt something from it. When the dotcom bust happened in 2002 which, I went from 150 people down to six including an office boy called Bajrang and I had to look at 144 people in the eye near the Shivaji Park because I didn’t have the money to take them to a conference room and I had sold them a dream to follow me as an entrepreneur. They had left jobs and come to me and now two years down the line I was looking them in the eye and saying, ‘Look, the dream is over’ and I can’t afford to pay you, But then I fought for them to get a severance package which helped me in good stead today because few of those folks today work for us, back again and a large number of them are placed in various entertainment businesses which give business back to us. So, it was about karma. I think there’s a learning in everything that doesn’t mean that we have not tripped or had speed breakers or fallen but that doesn’t mean that we have failed, we have learnt something and if you don’t learn from failures or where you trip or fall then you are stupid. In terms of the gloom and how do I look at life: look, the pessimist will say, a glass is half empty and an optimist will say, a glass is half full. As an entrepreneur, I don’t have an option to say it’s half empty or half full. I look at that half empty section and I said, ‘there’s enough space for scotch’, so I add scotch, do that half empty. Now only two things will happen, either you will enjoy the best goddamn drink of your life and have a great time or you will be too drunk to care, that’s what entrepreneurship is.

  • The U2 show is a biggie and we know it must have been a colossal exercise to make it happen. How did it all come together at the start?

    While we are the folks carrying the message, I don’t think all the credit goes to us. There’s a ton of people involved in making this happen. As you know, in India it’s not easy. It’s the first time, it’s fraught with a lot of challenges and you have to overcome all those challenges. The time has come… and it begins with the fact that the band wants to play. It is a global event with global infrastructure, global production qualities. The pricing, the cost, the timing all of this had to add up for it to be where Joshua Tree stands after 32 years. That it ends with a Bombay show was the cherry on the top and that’s what everybody wanted — for it to be the most memorable, the most momentous occasion. Because this is the messaging that will get carried to the rest of the world…. The concert will give 50,000 fans the opportunity to come to gig like that and I think they [the band] are privileged and honored because it’s a heart and head thing. You do a lot of work in life but this is music we have grown up on, music that we love. We had the opportunity to work with the best in the business, to be able to pull something off. I think it means a lot on various levels, professionally and personally. I think that’s where the privilege and the honor come from. It’s momentous for us as a nation.

  • When I met Bono and The Edge in New York recently, they told me how they had been meaning to do an India show for year, but it just wasn’t possible due a bunch of things. As a promoter, what are the urgent things you think India needs fixing so that we are on the touring map?

    I just feel there’s a lot of storytelling yet to be done. Because I think a lot of people have had miserable experiences in production. And you know that being a musician miserable experiences in production on under-declaring tickets, not sharing data on comps, taxation, infrastructure not being right by the end consumer, not doing enough work of safety and security, food and beverage, thinking about parking lanes, about timing, weather-wise. There are so many ways in which things can go wrong and with India a lot of things have gone wrong unfortunately in the past. I think that’s why the market hasn’t scaled enough. You know, one story goes back and nobody wants to come. A lot of people didn’t know about the scale the size of the market, potential partners, relevant partners, vendors, and I think it’s about establishing those norms which are global norms. It’s also about wrong expectations from promoters on what they want out of talent in terms of PR or stories or to further their own cause of their own brand by riding on the talent and the concert, which is not, this is all about. When it’s a show you are fully focused on delivering that and making that successful and I think this is not understood by a lot of promoters and event organizers and so if the market has to grow someone has to do it.

  • It’s a tricky proposition then – how did BookMyShow take the plunge?

    So all these years, BookMyShow was upfronting resources in terms of capital, strategy and a lot of that. In some cases it was hit-and-miss and in some cases, it worked. So two years ago, we took the decision to work with promoters, partners and event organizers to see if we can help them succeed and they can help us grow the market, so that sort of symbiosis started. It’s working with a lot of them, and we are constantly working with people who own IPs and have their events, and to see how we can make their event successful and grow the market and in some of the cases it’s become [about] ego. Where folks have started confronting us saying, ‘Look, you’re into our space so we’ll show you. But that was not our intention.’

  • And I’m sure it’s required a whole different sort of capability building as well as messaging for your company too?

    Our intent is to say we are not a company that does B2B, brand launches, car launches. We are not B2B. We keep the customer, audience, the fan at the center of our universe. Everything we do is for the fan; we do it for the fan experience or for what fans want. Also, there’s no job that’s small or big, no area, which is big or small as long as it’s in the framework of what we have designed for ourselves. People say you’re an online company; you’re not an infrastructure company, you’re a live events or ticketing company. I hate these boxing us in those. We are a consumer company we will do right what our customers wants. Does anybody ask Tata that question? What sort of company you are? You have a defined business and then you take decisions based on that. Bookmyshow has a long standing tradition of relationships.

  • The expansion and diversification of your business must have witnessed friction in the cut-throat entertainment industry. Tell me more about that.

    We are standing in the middle as a guarantor. And I think a lot of people didn’t understand that. The folks that understood it partnered with us. Guys that don’t, they find a confrontation. I think it’s a delicate balance — if you want to create a market, you will find friction. It’s about infrastructures that come with venues, sound, staging… It comes with trucks, festival grounds, payment mechanisms. All of these forms into creating a foundation or the necessary pave the road for effective touring market. Then we have a harsh climate. There are countries where they have snow, but they have indoor arenas, they have a city that gets involved in transportation. The mayor, the sheriff, the fire department, the police, all come together because they recognize it aids to tourism. And taxation is not that tough, unlike India where GST forms a very large part in live events. It’s 28%. While rest of the world it’s non-existent or miniscule or that country gives you waivers. It’s doesn’t happen in India. I think we’re getting there where some of these pieces are getting solved. So all of these will define what will happen in the future. It’s not going to happen overnight.

  • As an entrepreneur who is invested in scaling up from the ticketing foundation, what have been the core learnings for you so far?

    Right now, we’re at the forefront of regional theatrical cinema. A lot of us have not even heard of it. We have done a Marathi play which has got more than a 1000 admits. Nobody’s even heard of it but successfully running through one year. For us, it’s about taking these controlled experiments and having the ability to take those controlled risks, and run up the hill roll down, learn from those mistakes but keep running up the hill again and again. And as a part of that, we believe the ticketing was where we started off which was necessary to build the foundation. The next is to build the right metrics as to what we are doing and why. And not get consumed by the starry-ness of live events. It’s a business at the end of the day and it’s about the fans being able to come through the gates safely to buy tickets, have a good experience, eat good food, have a drink, buy merchandise, get out of the gate, being able to call someone if there’s a challenge. Be able to provide a world-class experience in terms of the music or show. And to be able to do it constantly and to deliver consistency. Then there’s infrastructure and other elements that go into this. All of this put together we’ll go where our fans and customers require us to go.

  • How did you come up with the idea of “BookMyShow”?

  • What are the struggles that you faced in your early days?

  • Early in 2002, how did a digital company as your’s function without a CRM, GPS or smart phone communication?

  • BookMyShow has always been a media shy company. Tell us a little about it and where it stands today.

  • BookMyShow is know for its high customer centric innovations. Tell us something about it.

  • How does BookMyShow use data to enhance efficiency in servicing its customers?

  • Given that people yet want a COD service for their purchase, how do you solve for it?

  • Do you think the more the data about your customers, the greater are your chances of conversion?

  • How important is a good UX for a digital company?

  • How is it to be working in BookMyShow?

  • How did you create monopoly?

  • Is there a possibility that surge pricing would come into booking movie tickets?

  • Are you planning to be an App only company?

  • Tell us about some of the struggles that you had to undergo to make BookMyShow successful?

  • How do you advise upcoming entrepreneurs to use capital?

  • Is it easy for any entrepreneur to operate in Indian market?

  • Brief us through your recent innovations based on customer insights.

  • Being the one of the first digital startups of the country, tell us what are the skill sets that an entrepreneur should possess?

  • Is it always good to start a company with a co-founder?

  • What do you think of the sudden tech hyperactivity, which changed the course for Indian entrepreneurs?

  • How do you handle irrational market competition?

  • Did you have those times when you reached the scary edge as an entrepreneur and turned your course to survive?

  • What’s your thought on content e-commerce revolution? Are you one of the companies to take advantage of it to reach consumers?

  • How many times have you revamped your senior management to enhance your company’s efficiency?