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More filmgoers now use Internet to buy tickets

Over the next two-three years, a fourth of all movie tickets will be booked online, says Ashok Ganpathy, CEO of Big Cinemas.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Nov 30, 2011, 04.03 AM IST
MUMBAI: Filmgoers are increasingly opting to book tickets online, spelling a rapid expansion of business for web-based ticketing platforms. With increasing access to internet, especially in the bigger cities and towns, filmgoers are switching to booking tickets online for a small fee. This saves time as well as money spent on visiting the cinema hall twice for a single screening.

Over the next two-three years, a fourth of all movie tickets will be booked online, says Ashok Ganpathy, CEO of Big Cinemas, which sells 25-30 lakh tickets a year through the internet. The share of online bookings in its total sales has jumped 200% since 2009, he says, from 5% to 15%. Multiplex Cinemax has recorded a similar growth over just one year, from 4% last year to 12%, says CEO Sunil Punjabi.

“Online ticket bookings hit the roof with Bodyguard, Ra.One and 7 Aum Arivu (Tamil film),” says Rama Raju, CEO of nomorequeue.com, pointing out that the rush for big releases has also contributed to online ticket sales. Another contributor to the surge, as Ashok Tandon, CEO of Inox says, is the growing perception that online transactions have gradually turned safer. “With the evolution of security of payment gateways and prevalent legislation, the perception is changing,” he says.

Within five years, as many as 50-60% filmgoers could opt for online bookings, says Neetu Bhatia, chairman and CEO at kyazoonga.com, which sells 60 lakh movies tickets. Along with Bigtree Entertainment’s bookmyshow. com, which sold one crore tickets this year, it commands the lion’s share of online ticketing business. According to executives at Bookmyshow-.com, the website accounted for around 12% of all movie tickets sold across the country, up from 8% last year.

Bollywood actors Ajay Devgan and Sanjay Dutt have also invested in an online platform, ticketplease.com, that began operations in January this year.

“We charge a convenience fee of .`15-25 from our customers,” says Ashish Hemrajani, founder and CEO of bookmyshow-.com, “The multiplexes do not pay us, most probably because nearly 50% of their revenue goes to the distributor and 33% as entertainment tax to the state governments.” Bookmyshow.com, which sold 40,000 tickets for the inaugural F1 race in Greater Noida, also sells tickets for live entertainment shows besides films and sports events like IPL and Champions League.

Online ticket sales for such shows are also growing rapidly. “Today, 60-70% of the revenue for highend music concerts of Bryan Adams and Akon in India comes from tickets. This number was barely 10-20% till five years ago,” says Bhatia of kyazoonga. com, which also sells tickets for entertainment shows and sports events.
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