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Paytm, BookMyShow wrestle for bigger pie of online movie ticketing space

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Paytm, BookMyShow wrestle for bigger pie of online movie ticketing space

On September 30, Paytm offered a ‘1+1’ offer on the tickets of ‘M.S. Dhoni- The Untold Story’ where consumers could avail cash-back on the second ticket. The offer was valid on a minimum booking of two tickets. On the other hand BookMyShow, a dominant player on the online movie ticketing platform, has several offers including free movie tickets and cash-back, courtesy its tie-ups with banks.

 The competition has been building up in this category ever since the entry of Paytm in March when it tied up with INOX and PVR, among others. In August the digital payment and e-commerce company claimed to book at least 100,000 movie tickets every day with over 2250 screens on its platform. On the other hand, BookMyShow had reportedly sold over 30 million tickets (including all tickets, not just movies) in Q1 FY17 compared to 22 million in the same quarter last year, registering a growth of 38 per cent.

With India’s undying love for films, it is not surprising that film ticketing comprises almost half of BookMyShow’s business. Ticketing for sporting and other events contribute the next biggest share to the revenue pie while the rest comes from advertising. Content, along with the ad platform, is aimed at making advertising a significant revenue source. BookMyShow expects it to contribute 10 per cent to the overall revenue.

When asked about its take on the competition coming from a new player, BookMyShow believes that it is nothing new and that competition has always existed in the industry. Currently, its focus is on the quality of its inputs and its services for their users. For instance, it has recently introduced many new feature such as MyCoupons, Reserve Now, Pay Later and F&B. Then it has its end-to-end ticketing solutions for many on-ground events. Officials at Paytm refused to comment as the spokesperson was unavailable.

Expansion in sight

The aggressiveness of both companies is for all to see. BookMyShow is expanding its presence in South India by offering more screens through its platform in tier II and III cities in the region. Out of the 1000 screens added in the previous financial year on to its platforms, 600 came from South India alone. To cater to the needs of cinemas as well as customers, the company has set up a dedicated contact centre and technical centre in Chennai.  "With the fact that movies are now released simultaneously across the country, and regional movies also getting importance by getting viewers in other parts of the country, we are looking at expanding our presence to tier II cities and beyond," said Ashish Saksena, COO - Cinemas, BookMyShow. 

Meanwhile, when mobile payment platform Paytm inked a strategic deal with entertainment company PVR as part of its Rs 120 crore investment in the online movie ticket business in March, the target was to make sales worth Rs 2.5 - 3 billion in the first year itself. 

In fact, the current size of the movie ticket market stands at $2 billion in India, according to reports. While it grows at a rate of 10 per cent annually, the online movie ticket business forms only 15 per cent of the total domestic market, which Paytm intends to double soon, as mentioned by other media reports. BookMyShow, owned by BigTree Entertainment, reported to bring in profit last year, according to its latest financial results, with an 85 per cent growth in turnover to Rs 2.36 billion (US$35.24 million) for a net profit of Rs 31.7 million (US$473,308).

Cash inflow on the right track

When it comes to raising funds, both companies are not facing problems while seeking investors. Paytm raised $60 million from Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturer MediaTek last month as part of a $300 million expected round. It had also borrowed close to Rs 300 crore from private sector lender ICICI Bank in working capital loans in March this year. Paytm had previously raised an undisclosed amount in funding from Alibaba and Ant Financial in September last year.

According to reports, Mumbai-based BookMyShow has raised Rs 550 crore led by US-based Stripes Group. Existing investors Network 18, Accel Partners and SAIF Partners also participated in this round of funding. This is its fourth round of funding. “These funds will be utilised towards rolling out exclusive entertainment experiences on BookMyShow, enhancing the overall offering for our users, while we hopefully build out a 360-degree gateway of entertainment in India,” said Ashish Hemrajani, CEO and Co-Founder, BookMyShow. It is also looking to strengthen its existing verticals and building contextual entertainment content.

Also on the other front, the online movie ticketing company gave a new look to its website, which has worked in its favour. “We added a new section called Experiences, which is a curated collection of events on BookMyShow, to discover events in a better way. Then there are smaller experiences that users might not realise. For instance, while you are booking a seat, the call to action is not highlighted, but once you’ve confirmed the seat, it will light up,” said Anish Tripathi, AVP, Product Design, BookMyShow. Post the re-designed website going live, its bounce rate reduced by approximately 60 per cent while the average time spent went up by approximately 20 per cent.

With such aggressive pace of growth it will be interesting to see how the two players outwit each other.

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