Facing an increased competition from new players, online ticketing site BookMyShow (BMS) is looking at expanding its base in the southern market.

The Mumbai-based portal, owned by Bigtree Entertainment Ltd, plans to add another 600 screens to its existing network of 1,200 this year, and also launch some schemes and initiatives specific to that market to gain market share. The southern market, mostly comprising Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh, is currently dominated by players such as Ticketnew.com and Justticket.com. The company is facing competition from new players such as Paytm and PVR, which are also getting aggressive with special offers and cashbacks for the price-sensitive Indian consumers.

Single screen theatres

Ashish Saksena, COO, BookMyShow, told that the company expects an impressive growth in its revenues and sales from the South Indian market even as it plans to tap the single screen theatres in the smaller rural towns where Internet is getting stronger by day.

“Our strategy so far in that market was guided by the multiplex owners and their growth, however, we realised that the potential in South India is huge in terms of movie releases and occupancy which is why we are aggressively adding more single theatre screens.”

Typically, the occupancy rate in any South Indian theatre is about 40-45 per cent compared to 20 per cent in the rest of India and this is a huge gap.

BMS challenge

Besides, Saksena said, the strategy to focus on single screens is also because of the strong consumption of regional content.

“We believe that the next level of growth for us will come from tier II and III cities, where large part of the screens are run by mom-and-pop kind of theatres and these players are keen on getting on our platform as they are facing stiff competition from the bigger multiplexes,” Saksena said. He further added that BMS had huge challenge entering that market two years ago, as the company was seen as an outsider in South India.

“We have been able to break this perception by setting up dedicated contact and technical centres in Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad,” Saksena said.

Besides, BMS is working on its customer retention and engagement initiatives such as booking of food&beverage on the platform, booking a seat and paying closer towards the show, coupons and movie trailers, which the company plans to scale up in the coming months.

BMS has suddenly stepped up its marketing spends and investments ever since it raised ₹550 crore from the US-based Stripes Group.

Ashish Hemrajani, Founder of BookMyShow, had mentioned earlier that the company wants to expand the market, both in India and overseas, besides focusing on review and ratings.

The portal has reported ₹3.1 crore profit for the year ended 31 March, against a loss of ₹13.5 crore in the year-ago period with its revenues rising to ₹248 crore against ₹130 crore a year ago.

The company earns its revenues from commission on the ticket bookings and that varies from ₹10-30 differing from State-to-State.

BookMyShow is present in over 350 towns and cities and is looking to grow its user base in tier II towns and cities. The company sold an average of 7.8 million ticket per month in the financial year 2015-16.