BookMyShow enters fast track innovative drive, managing mega events


Ashish Hemrajani (AH) talks to Steve Morrell of The Island Financial Review. Here, AH reveals how his event management company has grown to be 'the largest ticketing company in the world.'

Q. What difference can ‘BookMyShow’, make in the Sri Lankan context for event management? You already may be aware such expertise is quite well developed here. And readily available.

AH. What we have been doing in other locations in the world is simply this. We handle events. What ever crowd management necessarily demands, we deliver. Take for instance sport. Huge crowds turn up. Cricket, football, rugby, and we manage such crowds.

What I mean by ‘management’ is simply this. We ensure every person sits on the seat he or she paid for. All we do is use our technology, cut the pilferage, have print on demand strategy, scan every ticket, nobody can enter without a ticket, and they will sit on their allocated seat. No sitting willy-nilly, and so on.

We approached the Sri Lanka Cricket Board. We met them when they were in India for the world series. We made our pitch, but nothing happened. Sometime later they got back to us and offered us the Aussi Tour of Sri Lanka. We came to an agreement, and here we are.

BookMyShow, handled the Test matches, and we also handled the ’50s and the ’20 series games. When the rupees and cents are counted the Cricket Board would realize profits never seen before.

Every single person has to enter the stadium either with a revenue ticket, or certified proof of on line purchase, else they cannot get in; we brought about that degree of order to the entire exercise.

Let me take a step back to when I founded this company. I founded this company when I was 24. I’m 42 now.

By now I had formed my own company. ‘BookMyShow’. I was doing things on my own. Recently, we raised 82 million dollars. BookMyShow has grown to be the largest ticketing company in the world. By sheer volume. We do movies, plays , concerts, we sell close to 12 million tickets a month. On line, on its platform. Based out of India, New Zealand, Australia, and we’ve launched Indonesia recently.

Now we are setting up our base in Sri Lanka. we are signing up and we have made some gains.

Q. The current cricket tour was your launch pad in Sri Lanka. What will be the rest of your time in Sri Lanka. What will you do next?

A.H.Setting up a company in Sri Lanka; recruiting people, our areas of interest will be movie ticketing, theater, live events, sports, we are also going to be doing a review and rating engine for movies, like the ‘Rotten Tomatoes ‘in the US, we have that in India, creating a data base for consumers;

Q. How will you handle the competition already here?

A.H. In our business, the barriers to entry are so low. There is the internet and so on. Quite unlike plant machinery and so on, which is very high. I think healthy competition is important. I think there is enough room for another player to be able to harness available business.

Q. If I am looking for somebody to handle whatever I would do, why would I need to select you?

A.H. Our technology is the best. It's world class. There is nobody else. This is not idle chatter, but the reality is that our ticketing is so exacting that each and every person will sit on their allocated seat. Here there is the knack that people follow the rules. There is already this orderliness in Sri Lanka.

We are signing up EAP Cinemas, Ceylon Theaters, Other concerts, live events,

In terms of crowd management , the cricket we managed was a success. Yes. That is correct.

Q. What is your focus for the future?

A.H.Real time box office counters, online ticketing, but you will have to physically get your ticket. But that too will be without paper, in time.

Q. You are talking big projects. Training our people. But we are short of people, what sort of training can you give with no people to train.?

A.H.We will get over that problem when we get to that. We are good at what we do. And we’ll do what must be done. Yes there is room for other players as well. Nobody needs to shut down.

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