Rising digital consumption of content is complementing India’s movie-going habit contrary to views that it has had an adverse impact on theatrical business, according to BookMyShow CEO and Founder Ashish Hemrajani. The company is also betting big on live entertainment and sporting ticketing business with the growing popularity among younger consumers.

Speaking in a fireside chat at the Startup Mahakumbh event, he said it was predicted that OTT will be a death knell for theatres but in fact, it worked to an advantage. “After the pandemic, the OTT industry threw so much money at content, it has ended up creating a new set of creators, which include directors, screenwriters, actors, and musicians, who now get the real economic value out of a theatrical release.”

Pointing out to the India consumption patterns cannot be compared with other markets, he added that movie-going remains a significant entertainment option and is unique to the Indian culture due to its convenience and ease. “It remains the cheapest form of entertainment that gives consumers an opportunity to step out of their homes,” he added.

Hemrajani also stated that consumption of live entertainment and sports are also witnessing a surge driven by the country’s young demographics and growing disposable incomes. “Roti kapada makan is done, discerning people have got the money. Now they’re focusing outside of science and maths. They are focusing on art, they are focusing on music, they are focusing on sport. These spaces have become commercial as well.” he said.

“In cricket, earlier except for the 11 players, nobody else made money. Today, with the Indian Premier League (IPL), Women’s Premier League (WPL), and other formats, there is a far larger industry which is spawning an entire new generation who consider sports and music as a career choice,” he added.

Talking about BookMyShow’s foray into live events, he said it was done to disrupt this space. For the company, which was largely a movie-ticketing platform, live events and sport events ticketing besides advertising have now become key verticals. Hemarajani hinted that the company is also looking at launching another vertical without revealing much detail.

Talking about the challenges witnessed by the entertainment industry during the pandemic, he pointed out that the company took this time to completely disrupt its technology and revamp its operational model to emerge as a stronger player besides moving into new spaces.