3 min read.Updated: 05 Feb 2021, 09:28 AM ISTLata Jha
Founded in 2007, BookMyShow is owned by Big Tree Entertainment Pvt Ltd and has seen investments from media and entertainment group Network18 owned by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries, and global equity investors like Accel Partners and SAIF Partners in the past.
NEW DELHI :
Online ticketing site BookMyShow has launched a pay-per-view video streaming service BookMyShow Stream, calling it an attempt at a relatively uncluttered space in the otherwise crowded subscription-driven Indian OTT (over-the-top) market.
Launching with 600 movie titles, the TVoD (transaction video-on-demand) service that hopes to offer to 2,000 films over the next 9-12 months will bring a range of Hollywood, Hindi and independent, foreign cinema in partnership with American studios such as Sony Pictures, Warner Bros and Universal Pictures, Indian production houses like Viacom18, Shemaroo and Rajshri Productions as well as regional content providers like Divo and Sillymonks, among others.
It will be available for viewing on BookMyShow’s mobile app and website as well as Apple TV, Android TV, Firestick, Chromecast and desktop browsers. BookMyShow Stream will allow users to experience features such as downloads and offline viewing.
The library that includes titles such as Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, Gal Gadot starrer Wonder Woman 1984, horror fantasy The Craft: Legacy and Russian science fiction thriller Coma at the time of launch, will be available for both rent and purchase for prices ranging between ₹40-600 depending on the movie. A film on rent will be available for 30 days and once started, would have to be finished viewing within 48 hours while a title can be purchased for six months or even longer.
Founded in 2007, BookMyShow is owned by Big Tree Entertainment Pvt Ltd and has seen investments from media and entertainment group Network18 owned by Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries, and global equity investors like Accel Partners and SAIF Partners in the past. Network18 currently owns a 39% stake in BookMyShow.
“TVoD that sits somewhere between theatrical and subscription platforms is a legitimate opportunity window that exists in India," said Ashish Saksena, chief operating officer, cinemas, BookMyShow. Saksena called the latest move an extension of the company’s cinema ticketing business and not one that would compromise on or take away from it. Even though theatricals in India are far from seeing full recovery post the seven-month covid-19 shutdown with particularly north India still awaiting big Bollywood films, they remain priority for BookMyShow.
The firm enters the Indian OTT space that is already home to over 60 platforms, including foreign and local entities, with many new players especially in regional languages having come in only over the covid-19 lockdown last year.
“The subscription space may be cluttered in India but the TVoD business isn’t so much, given that there are no big players except Google or Apple," Saksena said adding that the company will focus on aggregating and curating content and has no plans to create it. With two new offerings each Friday, BookMyShow also hopes to bring independent foreign cinema to the country that is unlikely to ever arrive in movie theatres here including internationally acclaimed festival favourites and world cinema from Spain, France, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Slovakia and Netherlands through collaborations with independent film distributors like PictureWorks, Superfine Films, Impact Films, Kahwa Entertainment and VR films.
To be sure, after a few sporadic attempts, TVoD or the pay-per-view model that allows users to pay for individual offerings instead of an entire content library made its first big mainstream splash in the Indian market last year, albeit with little success. Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd rolled out Zee Plex in October while Shemaroo Entertainment had launched a TVoD service ShemarooMe Box Office in July.
“TVoD is still in early days in India which is a country that prefers to pay for value and would choose either a broad OTT subscription package or a telco bundle over a single movie offering," Karan Taurani, research analyst at Elara Capital Ltd said. Nearly 70-80% of the subscriber base of broadcaster-led OTT apps comes from telco packages, which makes these niche verticals tough to scale up, he added.
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