Movies are a very key part of Indian entertainment. India’s movie market is estimated at $2.1 billion last year and is growing 10 per cent annually. With digitisation, online movie ticketing is fast picking up seeing an unprecedented 50-60 per cent year on year, though the overall online contribution to movie ticketing is at 10 per cent now.
Visualising this pattern and opportunity ahead, TicketNew, a Telugu-owned Chennai based company forayed into this space 10 years back and is planning big for its future.
TicketNew claims itself as the second largest Indian online movie ticketing platform representing over 4,500 screens nationwide with presence in over 400 cities covering 21 States and five union territories. The company is now part of Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba Group, with its arm Alibaba Pictures owning majority stake in the company.
Recalling his journey, Ramkumar Nammalwar, founder, Ticketnew.com, told Telangana Today, “In the first year of our operations, we started with just three theatres and seven screens. Now we have tied up with 1,500 properties and have 500 properties that only use our services.”
“We have both software for cinemas and an online movie ticketing platform. We can handle traffic efficiently with the help of technology. We have 250 people and servers in Mumbai and Singapore. We came at a time when digitisation was happening in the industry. Advanced booking is on rise,” he added.
Digitisation, rising disposable income of consumers, frequent movie releases are fueling the growth in this segment. By 2020, the move industry could go up to $3.7 bn.
He explained, “TicketNew has developed its software in such a way that it can issued through a key board as well as a touchscreen. We have also introduced a food and beverage software and can also manage the theatre’s hardware. We can handle the end-to-end IT requirement.
We don’t expect the theatre owners to create their own IT teams. We can send alerts through theatre app that helps these owners in managing their theatres more efficiently.”
The company is building an analytics tool that will help track how and how fast the booking is happening on the platform and which celebrity’s movie has better bookings. It is investing in this. With the use of java, the company believes traffic could be handled better and zero down time can be maintained. It releases a software update almost every fortnight.
On the modalities of usage of its platform, he informed, registrations had not been made mandatory. There is an OTP confirmation system. There could be 4-5 lakh users nationally per month. And each user books about 2.8-3 tickets on an average.
In the last six years, the company had been a profitable venture and has tied up with all the top four multiplexes such as PVR, Inox and Miraj Cinemas in India. Close to 20 per cent of the bookings on its platform happen through multiplex chains.
The company’s software is today used in 10 countries including Cyprus, Oman, Middle East, Dubai, Souh Africa and the US.
Ramkumar said Telangana is fast growth market accounting for almost 20 per cent of its business. Market growth in the State will be much higher than in Tamil Nadu market.
He added, “The movie content coming here is better. In Hyderabad, it’s interesting as we can sell any language movie. We want to build this market. Hyderabad has good network of multiplexes and traction through online ticketing is high here. We have already tied up with Tamil and Hindi production houses and want to do that in Telugu. We tied up with Spyder and Lava Kusa.”
The company has taken the online movie ticketing to the audience in tier-2 and tier-3 market as well. It is strengthening its position in Telangana region with its network ranging from independent theatres to large cinema chains across urban and rural areas.
Alibaba Pictures being a ticketing company brings a lot of synergies to the company’s operations. There is a lot of technology support that is derived through this partnership and it is helping TicketNew to scale up faster.
He said, “Last year the company saw 60-70 per cent growth in our business. There can’t be any other industry in the online ticketing space that will see this kind of growth. Challenges are still there but they are in the form of connectivity and internet infrastructure.”