BookMyShow sees business fast approaching pre-Covid levels, Retail News, ET Retail


BookMyShow sees business fast approaching pre-Covid levelsMumbai: Movie ticketing and events platform BookMyShow said the company’s business is rapidly approaching pre-pandemic levels after having weathered slumps due to the Covid-19-led lockdowns.

Ashish Hemrajani, founder of the Mumbai-headquartered company, told ET that with the economy opening up, BookMyShow has turned Ebdita (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation) positive.

The company recorded its highest-ever monthly ticketing sales in March 2022 on the back of theatre releases, the Indian Premier League (IPL) and other live events, thus concluding the last fiscal on a positive note, Hemrajani, who is also the CEO, told ET in an interview.

BookMyShow also recorded its highest monthly active users at 70 million–more than pre-Covid times–and its highest-ever traffic and consumption demand with 250 million customer visits per month. Pre-Covid monthly traffic was averaging about 200 million customer visits per month.

“Before Covid, we were scaling well and the business was firing on all cylinders. We were optimistic… and were launching new things. Nobody prepares you for this sort of moment,” Hemrajani said. “Our business shut down. We had live entertainment and movies— this is the bedrock of our business. We went from being whatever we were to zero.”

The latest financials of the company are not available. According to BookMyShow’s regulatory filings, the company had posted a revenue from operations of Rs 74 crore in FY21, down from Rs 701.40 crore in FY20. Live events and online ticketing accounted for 80% of its income.

“Our expectation is to at least grow by another 35-40% conservatively as things are still uncertain – in terms of revenue by next year. And that’s the bare minimum that we think we will grow because of the scale that we’re seeing. Our current next 90-day goal is to consolidate and build on the success of March,” he said.

Road to recovery

What led to BookMyShow’s recovery were a series of steps it took in the early days to reduce costs, establishing new revenue streams, slashing jobs, and recasting strategy for international operations.

The two-decade-old company conducted its first series of layoffs and furloughs in May 2020, which impacted 270 people, as ET had reported earlier. Then as the more virulent second wave hit India in April last year, BookMyShow laid off another 200 people in June 2021. Its employee count—covering India and its international operations–is now down to 620 from about 1,500 before the pandemic.

“What we have done through general and administrative experience is cost reduction on people, re-strategising, and recasting our business internationally. The proof of the pudding is that in October of last year, we broke even and that was the first time sort of life came back to the business,” Hemrajani said.

The company launched BookMyShow streaming service in February of 2021. It also expanded its brand and advertisement monetisation service. “We thought, why don’t we look at our customer base and build adjacencies around that. They were anyway coming to our platform. Why don’t we do something around data monetisation, which is meaningful,” he said.

Its advertisement monetisation vertical expects to clock Rs 50 crore in revenue in the current fiscal based on estimates from March.

BookMyShow has worked with several brands, including HSBC, Niyo, RuPay, Amazon Prime Video, Zepto and CoinDCX. It expects the overall vertical to contribute 15% of BookMyShow’s revenue over the next three years.

Internationally, BookMyShow South East Asia built a B2B2C ticketing product, BigTix, which enables multiple stakeholders, including attractions, performance venues, city tours, to control their own ticketing and connect to BookMyShow’s network of channel partners and value-added tools.

BookMyShow started doubling down on owning the entire supply chain of pre-pandemic live events and plans to aggressively scale that in the next two years, even as the fear of subsequent Covid-19 waves linger.

“Somebody needs to start moving the market. As a market leader with a dominant market share, it’s our onus to move the market,” Hemrajani said, adding that the company has massive festivals, artist tours and comedy shows planned between September this year and March 2023.

“And then the calendar for FY23-24 is even bigger–it’s probably 3x bigger than the calendar that you will see now for this period. So we are going after high-quality, high-impact, consumer-defining sort of events and IPs, which will be a first on many fronts,” he said.

The company last raised funds from private equity major TPG in 2018 at an $800-million valuation. Hemrajani said he has no plan to raise another round.

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