How BookMyShow Survived Covid & Turned Profitable In 2023

How BookMyShow survived covid and became profitable?

With a whopping revenue of Rs.1,000 crore, FY23 was no less than a purple patch for BookMyShow. It made an exponential profit of Rs.87.82 crore rising from the loss of Rs.92.2 crore in FY22!

How BookMyShow survived covid and became profitable?

This made folks wonder- how did this ticket-booking platform survive COVID and turn profitable in 2023? So, without any delay let’s go through BookMyShow’s journey and the secret strategies that made it successful!

(A) Synopsis of BookMyShow’s Setbacks

As of today, BookMyShow went through two major crises. In this section, we will discuss them briefly-

(A.1) Covid Crisis

The COVID pandemic was a lot more than a deadly virus! Apart from the medical stream, the global economy was going through a crisis. The lockdowns were a huge thunderstorm for the hospitality sector including theatres, malls, parks, etc. 

BookMyShow’s founder & CEO Ashish Hemrajani recalls that everything was going well and good until FY19. Before the pandemic, BookMyShow was thriving. In FY19, they posted Rs.594.19 crore in revenue from operations, with movie ticket sales at an all-time high.

Then came the Covid lockdown in March 2020, which halted screenings, events, and business operations. The entertainment industry was hit hard, and BookMyShow faced an uncertain future.

So what happened was that when theatres were down, nobody booked tickets to watch movies and by default, BookMyShow plunged into losses… Consequently, it took decisive action and slashed its headcount by 48% i.e. from 1,450 to 750 employees…

But this wasn’t the first crisis for BookMyShow! It faced a similar scenario back in 2001… What happened at that time? You may ask. It was the dot-com burst!

(A.2) Deja Vu: BookMyShow and DotCom Crisis

Crisis faced by BookMyShow

In the dotcom bubble in the US, several internet-based companies invested heavily in equity during the bull market in the late 1990s. In 2001, when the share prices plunged sharply, hundreds of internet-based companies failed and lost their values including BookMyShow.

At that time the founders & CEO had to cut his company’s headcount by 96%. The workers count of BookMyShow sharply reduced to just 6 people from 150 employees. It looked as if the company would shut down. But surprisingly, it didn’t!

Despite hitting rock bottom, BookMyShow rose like a shining star with sky-high revenue and profits!

(B) Successful Business: BookMyShow turned profitable in 2023

Slowly, the business of BookMyShow began to revive in FY22. When occupancy restrictions eased, BookMyShow sold seven million movie tickets in nine days! Let’s compare the financials of BookMyShow for the fiscal years 2022 and 23-

Financial AspectsFY23 ( Crores)FY22 ( Crores)% increase
Operating Revenue975.5277.20252%
Total Expenses940.9395.20138.1%
Employee Benefit Expense137.6111.9023%
Revenue Share with Cinema Owners294.9119.80146.1%
Total Profit/Loss85.192.20192.18%
Successful Business: BookMyShow turned profitable in 2023

Online ticket bookings were crucial to BookMyShow’s recovery, making up 63% of its total revenue. Income from online ticket bookings surged from Rs.218 crore in FY22 to Rs.613 crore in FY23. The company’s overall revenue also saw a significant increase, rising to Rs.1,026 crore in FY23 from Rs.302 crore in FY22, thanks to various revenue streams like advertising and streaming.

BookMyShow expanded its live events business, with revenue reaching Rs.237 crore in FY23 compared to Rs.25 crore in FY22.

However, total expenses rose to Rs.945 crore in FY23 from Rs.395 crore in FY22 due to factors such as revenue sharing with cinema owners and artist fees.

A notable fact in this event is- BookMyShow faces competition from Paytm Insider in the ticketing space and saw new competition from Zomato’s entry into live events booking.

(C) Key Strategies: How BookMyShow survived Covid & Other Crisis?

Here are the secret strategies that BookMyShow opted to succeed in every crisis including Covid-

(C.1) Diversification & Reinvention

OTT platform of BookMyShow

BookMyShow faced a critical period when theatres shuttered and events were canceled due to the pandemic. Traditionally, the company heavily relied on movie ticket sales and events, accounting for 95% of its revenue in FY20. In response to this challenge, BookMyShow diversified and reinvented its numerous key offerings. Here are some of those-

  • OTT Platforms Adaptation: As movies moved to digital platforms, BookMyShow engaged with OTT content, exploring new avenues for revenue.
  • #CinemaIsBack Campaign: Launching a six-month-long campaign, they encouraged audiences to return to cinemas safely as theaters reopened, instilling confidence and excitement among moviegoers.
  • BookMyShow Stream: Introducing their TVOD (Transaction Video-On-Demand) platform, BookMyShow Stream gained popularity, contributing significantly to their recovery by offering a curated selection of movies and exclusive content.
  • Diversified Content: Beyond movies, BookMyShow ventured into other forms of entertainment, diversifying its offerings to cater to a broader audience base.

(C.2) Exclusiveness

BookMyShow aimed not just to be good but to be incomparable, setting themselves apart from competitors by offering exclusive tickets, bookings, and matches. They ensured that certain tickets were only available through their platform, establishing partnerships for exclusive ticketing rights. For instance-

  • IPL Partnership: BookMyShow became the official ticketing partner for teams like Mumbai Indians, Delhi Daredevils, and Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League.
  • Formula 1 Collaboration: They secured the position of the official Ticketing Partner for the Indian Grand Prix, enhancing their exclusivity in the motorsport arena.
  • Concerts & Events: Partnering with major events like the Ed Sheeran Concert, BookMyShow offered exclusive access to tickets, making their platform the go-to destination for entertainment enthusiasts.

(C.3) The Cockroach Approach

Cockroach approach of BookMyShow

You must have heard this quote- “Cockroaches and socialites are the only things that can stay up all night and eat anything. Long after the bomb falls and you and your good deeds are gone, cockroaches will still be here, prowling the streets like armored cars.”

Also, experts say that cockroaches can survive through every calamity ranging from floods to droughts, pandemics to famines.

In the face of uncertainty, BookMyShow adopted the resilience of a cockroach, aiming for survival and adaptability.

  • Building Exclusivity: By creating an ecosystem of exclusive offerings, BookMyShow ensured that customers and businesses found value in their platform, fostering loyalty and sustainability.
  • Complete Ecosystem: They developed a comprehensive ecosystem catering to the diverse needs of both customers and businesses, ensuring stability and longevity in the ever-changing market landscape.
  • Tech Leadership: While maintaining stability in their core business of ticket selling, BookMyShow continued to innovate, staying at the forefront of technology with features like a superb Android app, split ticket options, and enhanced movie discovery tools.

(C.4) Stability

BookMyShow recognized the importance of stability amidst constant change, balancing innovation with consistency to stay relevant-

  • Core Business Focus: Despite evolving market trends, they kept their focus on their core business of ticket selling, ensuring that it remained their primary revenue driver.
  • Continuous Improvement: While preserving its core, BookMyShow consistently improved its offerings, enhancing its platform with user-friendly features and functionalities to provide an unparalleled customer experience.

(C.5) Team Empowerment

Team of BookMyShow

Understanding the value of their team, BookMyShow prioritized employee welfare, fostering a culture of solidarity and support. During the 2008 recession, over 90% of employees voted to take a salary cut instead of letting go of their teammates, demonstrating their commitment to collective success.

That’s how, BookMyShow not only weathered the storms but also emerged stronger, setting a benchmark for resilience and adaptability in the entertainment industry!

(D) Final Words:  BookMyShow’s Success

In short, BookMyShow did really well in FY23, doing even better than before the pandemic. It’s like a bright spot for movies in India. Even when things were tough, they didn’t give up. Instead, they came up with new ideas and worked hard to make a comeback. 

Their story shows that if you keep trying and think of new ways to do things, you can succeed, no matter how hard it gets. BookMyShow’s success is a good sign for everyone in the entertainment business. 

Thus, BookMyShow’s success describes that if you stay focused on what people want, you can make it through tough times and come out stronger!

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Published By: Supti Nandi
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Utkarsha Jaiswal
Utkarsha Jaiswal
2 months ago

It’s true that being an early bird in the online ticket booking segment, Bookmyshow became a monopoly. I was astonished by that cockroach 🪳strategy 😲🫠 Are there any other brands that follow this coackroach strategy approach?

Naresh Kumar
2 months ago

The Coakroach analogy was good