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India’s BookMyShow launches livestreaming platform

BookMyShow, India’s largest online ticketing company, today (1 July) launched a pay-per-view streaming platform for live events.

BookMyShow Online will showcase performances across music, comedy and the performing arts and will be accessible via the BookMyShow app and website. A subscription-based model will also be rolled out in the next few months.

One of the first events to appear on the platform will make its debut is Sunburn Home Festival, the virtual edition of Goan EDM festival Sunburn, which is taking place on 11 and 12 July with sets from Bassjackers, Vini Vici, Mattn and Ummet Ozcan.

Tickets cost Rs99 (€1.20) for one day or Rs199 (€2.40) for both days.

Other upcoming events include shows by Bang Bang Romeo and Electric Enemy, and theatre workshops with veterans like Puneet Issar, Rohini Hattangadi, Rakesh Bedi, and Anant Mahadevan.

During lockdown, BookMyShow has facilitated the discovery of online entertainment on its platform, with currently almost half a million viewers accessing virtual events via its service per week.

With BookMyShow Online, the company intends to put all events behind a paywall, with prices varying per shows and platinum options, including post-performance Q&As, available for a greater price.

“Our latest video streaming platform BookMyShow Online was born out of this need to make virtual live entertainment a frictionless and hassle-free viewing experience”

“Sensing the shift in our users’ appetite for entertainment during this lockdown, we were agile enough to change tack by introducing virtual in-home entertainment offerings in India and other global markets,” says Parikshit Dar, co-founder and director of BookMyShow.

“Our latest video streaming platform BookMyShow Online was born out of this need to make virtual live entertainment a frictionless and hassle-free viewing experience.”

The streaming platform will initially be able to host over 50,000 concurrent viewers per minute, with the company reportedly testing a feature to take this up to 100,000.

“The platform is built for scale,” says Dar. “This tech allows us the ability to spin multiple live events with our livestreaming capability, enhance the user experience, and provide a lightning-fast video player for streaming content.”

The company has partnered with global video technology platform Brightcove to power BookMyShow Online.

In May, BookMyShow announced cost-cutting measures including the lay-off or furloughing of 270 employees and company-wide salary reductions.

Read the Indian market report in the latest edition of IQ Magazine here.

Photo: Preeti Photography/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0) (cropped)

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India sees live events boom in 2019

The number of tickets sold for live events in India increased significantly in 2019, according to new data from ticketing platform BookMyShow.

The number of events listed on BookMyShow – valued at US$1 billion and “easily the dominant force in Indian ticketing”, according to the International Ticketing Yearbook 2019 – jumped 23% last year, to more than 17,500, with concerts the second-biggest attraction after ever-popular cricket.

Live events “wholly executed by” (ie sold only via) BookMyShow, meanwhile, increased 156% in 2019, reports India’s Moneycontrol.

Among the most popular live events were Sunburn festival U2’s first Indian show

Among the most popular live music events in India, a market of some 1.4bn people, last year were the 2019 edition of the Sunburn EDM festival in Goa, which was attended by 300,000 fans, and U2’s first-ever Indian show – of which more than a quarter of those who attended were first-time attendees to a live event in Mumbai (Bombay).

Elsewhere, the CEO of BookMyShow’s chief rival, Alibaba-backed Paytm, Shreyas Srinivasan, says it sold more than 7.5 million tickets in 2019, with a 25% increase in the number of events ticketed.

While live events contribute an estimated 50% of India’s online ticketing revenues, it remains films which are doing the biggest business: Avengers: Endgame was BookMyShow’s biggest event of 2019, according to the Eastern Mirror, with 8.6 million tickets sold.


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Singh: An Indian superstar will ‘open floodgates’

Indian promoter Shailendra Singh, the self-styled ‘entertainment maverick’ best known as the creator of the wildly successful Sunburn EDM brand, this week took the wraps off World’s Biggest Guestlist: a festival franchise with a difference.

Headlined by superstar DJ Hardwell and promoted by Singh’s new nonprofit social enterprise, Guestlist4Good, World’s Biggest Guestlist Festival (WBGLF) has as its goal to educate 100,000 underprivileged children through three days of music, sports and live Bollywood.

The new festival, which Singh tells IQ allows ordinary fans to “experience a world-class show from a [free] guestlist”, follows a previous World’s Biggest Guestlist event in Mumbai (Bombay) in December 2015, also headlined by Hardwell, which was streamed by 10 million people and raised enough through donations to educate 18,000 children.

“Although we achieved, and excelled, with our donations goal, we all knew that more could be done,” comments Hardwell, “so it is for this reason we decided to go back to India and make the goal even bigger by aiming to educate 100,000 young children. And this time, I’ll be joined by some of my biggest and best DJ friends who will be helping us achieve this aim.”

Singh discussed the genesis of the project last month in a wide-ranging interview with IQ, explaining how, in contrast to events such as Live Aid in the West, India had never had a benefit concert of its own. He noticed, he explained, how “everyone is driven by commerce; no one is driven by love”.

“It won’t be long before we get that one Indian superstar”

While “driven by commerce” would also be a fair descriptor for Percept joint MD Singh, whose career has included spells in advertising, talent management, sports marketing, film and live entertainment (in addition to its flagship festival, Sunburn hosts smaller shows in 78 cities across India throughout the year), he is also associated with more than 50 charities and describes World’s Biggest Guestlist as his “latest game-changer”.

Percept/Guestlist4Good’s role in WBGLF, which is produced in partnership with Magic Bus, the charity that provides the education, is to attract the talent necessary to get Magic Bus’s work in front of the biggest number of people possible.

Charities, said Singh, are “honest people – they need people from our corrupt, commercial world to make events like this happen.” (He likened it to a Hindi proverb, ‘Who saw a peacock dance in the woods?’, which alludes to the necessity of making good things public in order to be appreciated.)

He adds that the effects of child poverty stretch far outside India’s borders. “India has the youngest population in the world, but 84 million children are under-educated,” he continues. “We also make up one in every seven people in the world, so it’s not just an Indian problem – it’s a global problem.”

Hardwell and other as-yet-unannounced EDM stars will play the third day of WBGLF, held on 3 December at DY Patil Stadium (56,000-cap.) in Mumbai, with the first and second days given over to India’s two other passions: Bollywood and sports.

On EDM (electronic dance music) – which has become a phenomenon among young people in India, packing out stadia and attracting the attention of international heavy-hitters such as Electric Daisy Carnival and Ultra – Singh praised the strength of local scene, saying it’s “only a matter” of time before India produces its own DJ superstar.

“Charities are honest people – they need people from the commercial world to make events like this happen”

While Sunburn headliners are, for the most part, still white and European, Singh said the past few years have seen homegrown DJs “exploding”, becoming global brands in their own right.

“All it needs is one Indian success story to open the floodgates,” he commented. “At Sunburn we now have 40–50% Indian artists… It won’t be long before we get that one Indian superstar.”

While the emergence of dance music in India has seen its fair share of opposition – Sunburn itself moved to Pune after being driven out of Goa amid controversy over its ‘immorality’ – WBGLF should hopefully go some way to changing the minds of those who consider EDM “against Indian culture”.

For Anna Knaup, Hardwell’s manager and agent, WBGLF is an opportunity for the DJ’s United We Are Foundation to “kickstart an educational revolution”.

“During our first trip, we had a chance to connect with the children living in the slums and, later, witness the power of support from not just the local community but the world at large,” she says. “The extremity of the poverty for these children is real and truly heart-breaking. Now we have a chance to make a bigger impact on helping to change their lives for the better.”


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Loss of festivals no big deal, says Goan minister

There will be no decline in tourism in Goa this Christmas, despite the state government having forced two of India’s biggest musical festivals to relocate, its tourism minister has declared.

Rival dance music festivals Sunburn and Supersonic – the former of which attracted 350,000 festivalgoers in 2015 – will both move to Pune (Poona), in Maharashtra, this December after Dilip Parulekar declared they would no longer be welcome in Goa in 2016.

Speaking to the IANS news agency, Parulekar says the impact on tourism should be minimal. “People come for Goa’s culture, not because of EDM,” he comments. “It will not affect [footfall] much.”

“People come for Goa’s culture, not because of EDM”

Announcing Supersonic’s move, Saugato Bhowmik, of promoter Viacom18, praised Pune for its “openness towards modern influences” – in contrast, perhaps, to Goa, where one local politician accused dance music of being “against [Indian] culture and [pro-] pushing drugs” – and a “world-class destination” for the festival.

“Deeply-rooted in culture and traditions, the city is known for its openness towards modern influences and thought, Pune is a seamless blend of local culture and global influences, thereby making it an apt destination for the upcoming edition of Vh1 Supersonic,” says Bhowmik. “We also see this as an ongoing journey to provide transformative experiences to today’s youth by creating the Supersonic world at the kind of world-class destinations that Pune is providing to us. We are looking forward to a very successful Vh1 Supersonic, celebrating Pune as our new home.”

Insomniac held its first event in the subcontinent, Electric Daisy Carnival India, at the Buddh International Circuit near Delhi last weekend.


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Goa declares war on Asia’s biggest music festival

Asia’s largest music festival, Goa electronic dance music (EDM) event Sunburn, is facing an uncertain 2016 after the Indian state’s tourism minister announced that no EDM festivals will be allowed to go ahead in the final week of the year.

The ban will also affect arch-rival Supersonic.

“At that time so many tourists are in Goa to celebrate New Year or Christmas,” Dilip Parulekar told journalists at Goa’s state secretariat, reports “We do not want these EDM events at that time. They should be organised before or after that period.”

Both festivals take place at the same time, from 27 to 30 December – Sunburn (which last year attracted a record-breaking 350,000 attendees) on Vagator beach and Supersonic on Candolim beach, both in Bardez – and have in recent years been subject to criticism from local politicians, police and businesspeople, many of whom would prefer that they be held at different times to better serve the economy and relieve pressure on Goa’s narrow streets and ageing infrastructure.

“We do not want these EDM events at that time. They should be organised before or after that period”

According to a December Goa News report, both Sunburn promoter Percept Ltd and Supersonic’s Viacom 18 are also behind on taxes following the Goan police’s decision to hike the festivals’ security bills and backdate them three years.

Aside from the logistical issues, it is also possible that many in the Goan government’s hostility to its world-leading EDM festivals comes from a deeper-seated moral opposition. Sunita Verenkar, of the conservative governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), said in December: “The BJP government should ban EDMs [sic]. While in the opposition, they had accused the Congress [party] of promoting such festivals, which according to them were against [Indian] culture and [pro-] pushing drugs.”

Supersonic has yet to announce any dates for 2016, while Sunburn’s website still shows the festival as taking place from 27 to 30 December.


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